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Russian government hackers exploited antivirus software to steal United States cyber capabilities

06 Octubre 2017, 05:13 | Bibiana Flor

The material was highly classified and was identified by the hackers since the contractor was using Russian Kaspersky Lab antivirus software, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Department of Homeland Security has banned Kaspersky products in federal IT systems and networks since September this year.

"Kaspersky copying NSA information from an NSA person's computer?"

Others in the cybersecurity community were quick to point out that the WSJ's report stops short of suggesting that Kaspersky worked directly with the Russian government on the hack.


Kaspersky Lab, which has 400 million customers globally, has denied it spies for the Russian government.

Russian security firm Kaspersky has once again been accused of wrongdoing in the U.S. in a new case involving hacking of the National Security Association (NSA).

The Washington official added that there is no reason for the general public to avoid using Kaspersky Lab products; however, a month ago the FBI made a decision to ban the installation of the company's software on federal computers due to fears of creating backdoors for Russian hackers.

A former senior intelligence official told NBC News the NSA worker put the information on a computer that used Kaspersky anti-virus software.


"Whether the information is credible or not, NSA's policy is never to comment on affiliate or personnel matters", the NSA spokesman said. In June, the Senate proposed a bill that would ban the Department of Defense from using Kaspersky software and a US House of Representatives committee began looking into a number of agencies' use of the company's products this July.

The government said the move was done on the grounds that Kaspersky had connections to the Russian government and that its software posed a security risk.

Of course it was only a year ago that Harold Martin, a contractor for the NSA, was arrested after he knowingly took home documents and digital files that contained highly sensitive information. In August 2016, Harold Thomas Martin III, 51, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, was arrested by the FBI after federal prosecutors say he illegally removed highly classified information and stored the material in his home and auto. And before that we had Edward Snowden, who disappeared from his job as an NSA contractor in Hawaii only to reemerge in Hong Kong and then Russian Federation after stealing and releasing a mountain of data on classified USA data collection programs.

The theft, described in the report as one of the most significant security breaches in recent years, was discovered the spring of 2016. "If these reports are true, Russian Federation has pulled that off", he said. Kaspersky Lab may or may not have been involved in this breach, but it's absolutely clear that the NSA needs to get its crap together.




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