The latest report regarding Russia stealing U.S. cyber secrets is yet again centered around the National Security Agency (NSA), using Contractors to gain access, in some cases, to classified data.
It has been reported that a NSA Contractor (fired back in 2015) put highly classified U.S. cyber secrets on his home computer, which included information on how to infiltrate foreign computer networks and protect against cyber-attacks. As reported by The Washington Post (10.05.2017), the Russian government-backed hackers were able to identify the files through the contractor’s use of the antivirus software Kaspersky Lab, a Russian based company. Ironically, the employee had worked at the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations unit for elite hackers. Kaspersky Lab is a company whose products were banned from U.S. government networks because of suspicions they help the Kremlin conduct espionage.
This latest report comes on the heels of the NSA Contractor Harold Martin breach [view related post], who is “alleged to have stolen documents that contain highly classified information from 1993-2016.” He is awaiting sentencing.
Let’s not forget the 2013 leaks of data on classified U.S. surveillance programs by contractor Edward Snowden in 2013. And where is he now? Russia. His right to asylum in Russia has been extended to 2020 and will soon be eligible to apply for Russian citizenship, as reported by The Telegraph (01.18.17).
And then there is this report from The Associated Press (11.28.2017), stating that the FBI failed to notify U.S. officials that “Russian hackers were trying to break into their personal Gmail accounts despite having evidence for at least a year that the targets were in the Kremlin’s crosshairs.”
There are still investigations being conducted into the allegations of the Russian hackers involvement with the 2016 presidential election.