Russian Hackers Allegedly Stole US National Security Agency Secrets

Russian government-backed hackers reportedly stole classified U.S. information after a National Security Agency contractor put highly classified information on his home computer.

Russia has stolen highly confidential information from the US National Security Agency (NSA) by using Russian anti-virus software that was installed on a personal computer of an employee, according to reports in American media outlets.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Russian government spies were reportedly able to gain access to the NSA contractor's home PC, on which he had stored confidential NSA documents.

Kaspersky Lab responded to the Wall Street Journal report in an October 5 statement, saying that it "has not been provided any evidence substantiating the company's involvement in the alleged incident". Kaspersky's software works differently than most other anti-virus systems in that it copies data on the user's hard drive and sends it back to their servers for further analysis. The timing of the revelation comes close to formation of panel by Special Counsel Robert Mueller after the unceremonious exit of Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey, to investigate the possible vote-rigging by Russians and also collusion with Trump's election campaign team prelude to US Presidential Election in November 2016.

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Due to the fact that the U.S. government banned Kaspersky products from federal computers in September, Kaspersky repeatedly offered up the source code of its products for officials to review. "Also unclear is whether Kaspersky employees alerted the Russian government to the finding".

US officials have yet to publicly present any evidence of concerning links between Kaspersky Lab employees and elements of the Russian government.

Kaspersky's defense is roughly in line with the general consensus among nonaligned information security experts. But Kaspersky Lab and its software have been a major focus of United States government investigations this past year following Russian-led hacks into U.S. election systems and political candidate networks.

Kaspersky Lab said in a statement it "does not have inappropriate ties to the Russian government". Instead, it's possible that the Russians exploited vulnerabilities within Kaspersky's software to get the data.

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Kaspersky rubbished these claims, denying "inappropriate ties with any government" and stated the U.S. government's decision to be 'based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions, including claims about the impact of Russian regulations and policies'.

'We make no apologies for being aggressive in the battle against malware and cybercriminals.

With a string of cybersecurity incidents hitting the National Security Agency, is this proof that no organisation is safe?

Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen (NH) is an outspoken critic of Kaspersky's software and has advocated for a ban on the software's use in federal computer networks. The information also included the computer code the NSA uses for spying.

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