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Chinese Hackers Used NSA Hacking Tools Before Shadow Brokers Leaked Them

Chinese Hackers Used NSA Hacking Tools Before Shadow Brokers Leaked Them
May 07, 2019Swati Khandelwal
In a shocking revelation, it turns out that a hacking group believed to be sponsored by Chinese intelligence had been using some of the zero-day exploits linked to the NSA's Equation Group almost a year before the mysterious Shadow Brokers group leaked them. According to a new report published by cybersecurity firm Symantec, a Chinese-linked group, which it calls Buckeye , was using the NSA-linked hacking tools as far back as March 2016, while the Shadow Brokers dumped some of the tools on the Internet in April 2017. Active since at least 2009, Buckeye—also known as APT3, Gothic Panda, UPS Team, and TG-0110—is responsible for a large number of espionage attacks, mainly against defence and critical organizations in the United States. Although Symantec did not explicitly name China in its report, researchers with a high degree of confidence have previously attributed [ 1 , 2 ] Buckeye hacking group to an information security company, called Boyusec, who is working on beh

Ex-NSA Contractor Pleads Guilty to 20-Year-Long Theft of Classified Data

Ex-NSA Contractor Pleads Guilty to 20-Year-Long Theft of Classified Data
March 28, 2019Mohit Kumar
A former National Security Agency contractor—who stole an enormous amount of sensitive information from the agency and then stored it at his home and car for over two decades—today changed his plea to guilty. The theft was labeled as the largest heist of classified government material in America's history. Harold Thomas Martin III, a 54-year-old Navy veteran from Glen Burnie, abused his top-secret security clearances to stole at least 50 terabytes of classified national defense data from government computers over two decades while working for a number of NSA departments between 1996 and 2016. In August 2016, the FBI arrested Martin at his Maryland home and found "six full bankers' boxes" worth of documents, many of which were marked "Secret" and "Top Secret," in his home and car. At the time of his arrest in August 2016, Martin also worked for Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp, the same company that previously employed  Edward Snowden  

Turns Out Kaspersky Labs Helped FBI Catch Alleged NSA Leaker

Turns Out Kaspersky Labs Helped FBI Catch Alleged NSA Leaker
January 09, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Remember " The Shadow Brokers " and the arrest of a former NSA contractor accused of stealing 50 Terabytes of top secret documents from the intelligence agency? It turns out that, Kaspersky Lab, which has been banned in US government computers over spying fears, was the one who tipped off the U.S. government and helped the FBI catch NSA contractor Harold T. Martin III , unnamed sources familiar with the investigation told Politico. In October 2016, the U.S. government arrested and charged Martin, 51, with theft of highly classified documents, including most sensitive NSA hacking tools and top-secret information about "national defense," that he siphoned from government computers over the period of two decades. The breach is believed to be the largest heist of classified government material in America's history, far bigger than Edward Snowden leaks . According to the sources, the Antivirus firm learned about Martin after he sent unusual direct messag

Ex-NSA Developer Gets 5.5 Years in Prison for Taking Top Secret Documents Home

Ex-NSA Developer Gets 5.5 Years in Prison for Taking Top Secret Documents Home
September 26, 2018Mohit Kumar
A former NSA employee has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison for illegally taking a copy of highly classified documents and hacking tools to his home computer between 2010 and 2015, which were later stolen by Russian hackers. Nghia Hoang Pho, 68, of Ellicott City, Maryland—who worked as a developer with Tailored Access Operations (TAO) hacking group at the NSA since April 2006—held various security clearances and had access to national defense and classified information. The personal Windows computer on which Pho stored the classified documents and tools was running Kaspersky antivirus software, which was then allegedly used, one way or another, by Russian hackers to steal the documents in 2015. Though Kaspersky Lab consistently denied any direct involvement in helping Russian intelligence agencies to pilfer sensitive secrets, the United States government banned federal agencies from using Kaspersky antivirus software over spying fears. In response, Kasper

Ex-CIA employee charged with leaking 'Vault 7' hacking tools to Wikileaks

Ex-CIA employee charged with leaking 'Vault 7' hacking tools to Wikileaks
June 19, 2018Mohit Kumar
A 29-year-old former CIA computer programmer who was charged with possession of child pornography last year has now been charged with masterminding the largest leak of classified information in the agency's history. Joshua Adam Schulte , who once created malware for both the CIA and NSA to break into adversaries computers, was indicted Monday by the Department of Justice on 13 charges of allegedly stealing and transmitting thousands of classified CIA documents , software projects , and hacking utilities . Schulte has also been suspected of leaking the stolen archive of documents to anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks, who then began publishing the classified information in March 2017 in a series of leaks under the name " Vault 7 ." It is yet unconfirmed whether Schulte leaked documents to WikiLeaks and if yes, then when, but he had already been a suspect since January 2017 of stealing classified national defense information from the CIA in 2016. According to

Leaked NSA Dump Also Contains Tools Agency Used to Track Other Hackers

Leaked NSA Dump Also Contains Tools Agency Used to Track Other Hackers
March 07, 2018Swati Khandelwal
A years ago when the mysterious hacking group ' The Shadow Brokers ' dumped a massive trove of sensitive data stolen from the US intelligence agency NSA, everyone started looking for secret hacking tools and zero-day exploits . A group of Hungarian security researchers from CrySyS Lab and Ukatemi has now revealed that the NSA dump doesn't just contain zero-day exploits used to take control of targeted systems , but also include a collection of scripts and scanning tools the agency uses to track operations of hackers from other countries. According to a report published today by the Intercept, NSA's specialized team known as Territorial Dispute (TeDi) developed some scripts and scanning tools that help the agency to detect other nation-state hackers on the targeted machines it infects. NSA hackers used these tools to scan targeted systems for 'indicators of compromise' (IoC) in order to protect its own operations from getting exposed, as well as to fin

Kaspersky Lab Sues U.S. Government Over Software Ban

Kaspersky Lab Sues U.S. Government Over Software Ban
December 19, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Moscow-based cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab has taken the United States government to a U.S. federal court for its decision to ban the use of Kaspersky products in federal agencies and departments. In September 2017, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a Binding Operational Directive (BOD) ordering civilian government agencies to remove Kaspersky Lab software from their computers and networks within 90 days. The order came amid mounting concern among United States officials that the Kaspersky antivirus software could be helping Russian government spy on their activities, which may threaten the U.S. national security. U.S. President Donald Trump also signed into law last week legislation that bans the use of Kaspersky products within the U.S. government, capping a months-long effort to purge Kaspersky from federal agencies amid concerns it's vulnerable to Kremlin influence. The Kaspersky's appeal is part of an ongoing campaign by the c

Here's the NSA Employee Who Kept Top Secret Documents at Home

Here's the NSA Employee Who Kept Top Secret Documents at Home
December 02, 2017Swati Khandelwal
A former employee—who worked for an elite hacking group operated by the U.S. National Security Agency—pleaded guilty on Friday to illegally taking classified documents home , which were later stolen by Russian hackers. In a press release published Friday, the US Justice Department announced that Nghia Hoang Pho , a 67-year-old of Ellicott City, Maryland, took documents that contained top-secret national information from the agency between 2010 and 2015. Pho, who worked as a developer for the Tailored Access Operations (TAO) hacking group at the NSA, reportedly moved the stolen classified documents and tools to his personal Windows computer at home, which was running Kaspersky Lab software. According to authorities, the Kaspersky Labs' antivirus software was allegedly used, one way or another, by Russian hackers to steal top-secret NSA documents and hacking exploits from Pho's home PC in 2015. "Beginning in 2010 and continuing through March 2015, Pho removed an

Bad Rabbit Ransomware Uses Leaked 'EternalRomance' NSA Exploit to Spread

Bad Rabbit Ransomware Uses Leaked 'EternalRomance' NSA Exploit to Spread
October 27, 2017Mohit Kumar
A new widespread ransomware worm, known as " Bad Rabbit ," that hit over 200 major organisations, primarily in Russia and Ukraine this week leverages a stolen NSA exploit released by the Shadow Brokers this April to spread across victims' networks. Earlier it was reported that this week's crypto-ransomware outbreak did not use any National Security Agency-developed exploits, neither EternalRomance nor EternalBlue , but a recent report from Cisco's Talos Security Intelligence revealed that the Bad Rabbit ransomware did use EternalRomance exploit. NotPetya ransomware (also known as ExPetr and Nyetya) that infected tens of thousands of systems back in June also leveraged the EternalRomance exploit , along with another NSA's leaked Windows hacking exploit EternalBlue, which was used in the WannaCry ransomware outbreak. Bad Rabbit Uses EternalRomance SMB RCE Exploit Bad Rabbit does not use EternalBlue but does leverage EternalRomance RCE exploit to spread

Kaspersky Opens Antivirus Source Code for Independent Review to Rebuild Trust

Kaspersky Opens Antivirus Source Code for Independent Review to Rebuild Trust
October 23, 2017Mohit Kumar
Kaspersky Lab — We have nothing to hide! Russia-based Antivirus firm hits back with what it calls a " comprehensive transparency initiative ," to allow independent third-party review of its source code and internal processes to win back the trust of customers and infosec community. Kaspersky launches this initiative days after it was accused of helping, knowingly or unknowingly, Russian government hackers to steal classified material from a computer belonging to an NSA contractor. Earlier this month another story published by the New York Times claimed that Israeli government hackers hacked into Kaspersky 's network in 2015 and caught Russian hackers red-handed hacking US government with the help of Kaspersky. US officials have long been suspicious that Kaspersky antivirus firm may have ties to Russian intelligence agencies. Back in July, the company offered to turn over the source code for the U.S. government to audit. However, the offer did not stop U.S. Dep

Israel Hacked Kaspersky, Caught Russian Spies Hacking American Spies, But...

Israel Hacked Kaspersky, Caught Russian Spies Hacking American Spies, But...
October 11, 2017Mohit Kumar
The cold cyber war has just turned hot. According to a story published  today by the New York Times, Israeli government hackers hacked into Kaspersky's network in 2015 and caught Russian government hackers red-handed hacking US government hackers with the help of Kaspersky. In other words — Russia spying on America, Israel spying on Russia and America spying on everyone. What the F^#% is going around? It is like one is blaming another for doing exactly the same thing it is doing against someone else. Wow! Well, the fact that everyone is spying on everyone is neither new nor any secret. However, somehow now Kaspersky Labs is at the centre of this international espionage tale for its alleged devil role. Just last week, the Wall Street Journal, an American media agency, published a story against the Kaspersky, a Russian antivirus provider, claiming that the Russian government hackers stole highly classified NSA documents and hacking tools in 2015 from a staffer's home

Shadow Brokers Leaks Another Windows Hacking Tool Stolen from NSA's Arsenal

Shadow Brokers Leaks Another Windows Hacking Tool Stolen from NSA’s Arsenal
September 08, 2017Swati Khandelwal
The Shadow Brokers , a notorious hacking group that leaked several hacking tools from the NSA, is once again making headlines for releasing another NSA exploit—but only to its "monthly dump service" subscribers. Dubbed UNITEDRAKE , the implant is a "fully extensible remote collection system" that comes with a number of "plug-ins," enabling attackers to remotely take full control over targeted Windows computers. In its latest post, the hacking group announced a few changes to its monthly dump service and released encrypted files from the previous months as well. Notably, the September dump also includes an unencrypted PDF file, which is a user manual for the UNITEDRAKE (United Rake) exploit developed by the NSA. According to the leaked user manual, UNITEDRAKE is a customizable modular malware with the ability to capture webcam and microphone output, log keystrokes, access external drives and more in order to spy on its targets. The tool c

Cyberspies Are Using Leaked NSA Hacking Tools to Spy On Hotels Guests

Cyberspies Are Using Leaked NSA Hacking Tools to Spy On Hotels Guests
August 11, 2017Swati Khandelwal
An infamous Russian-linked cyber-espionage group has been found re-using the same leaked NSA hacking tool that was deployed in the WannaCry and NotPetya outbreaks—this time to target Wi-Fi networks to spy on hotel guests in several European countries. Security researchers at FireEye have uncovered an ongoing campaign that remotely steals credentials from high-value guests using Wi-Fi networks at European hotels and attributed it to the Fancy Bear hacking group. Fancy Bear —also known as APT28, Sofacy, Sednit, and Pawn Storm—has been operating since at least 2007 and also been accused of hacking the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton Campaign in an attempt to influence the U.S. presidential election. The newly-discovered campaign is also exploiting the Windows SMB exploit (CVE-2017-0143), called EternalBlue , which was one of many exploits allegedly used by the NSA for surveillance and leaked by the Shadow Brokers in April. EternalBlue is a security vulnerabi

'Shadow Brokers' Threatens to Unmask A Hacker Who Worked With NSA

'Shadow Brokers' Threatens to Unmask A Hacker Who Worked With NSA
June 28, 2017Swati Khandelwal
The Shadow Brokers , a notorious hacking group that leaked US cyberweapons — which were also abused by the recent ransomware disasters WannaCry and Petya or NotPetya — has now threatened to unmask the identity of a former hacker who worked for the NSA. Besides this, the Shadow Brokers group has also doubled the price for its monthly subscription model of NSA's built hacking tools and zero-day exploits from 100 ZEC (Zcash) to 200 ZEC, which is around $64,400 USD. Moreover, the hacking group has also announced a VIP service for people, who will be entertained by the group for their queries on the leaked hacking tools and exploits. To subscribe to the VIP service, one has to make a one-time payment of 400 ZEC (around US$128,800). Last month, the Shadow Brokers announced to release more zero-days exploits and hacking tools  developed by the US spy agency every month from June 2017, but only to private members who will subscribe for receiving exclusive access to the futur

Newly Found Malware Uses 7 NSA Hacking Tools, Where WannaCry Uses 2

Newly Found Malware Uses 7 NSA Hacking Tools, Where WannaCry Uses 2
May 22, 2017Swati Khandelwal
A security researcher has identified a new strain of malware that also spreads itself by exploiting flaws in Windows SMB file sharing protocol, but unlike the WannaCry Ransomware that uses only two leaked NSA hacking tools , it exploits all the seven. Last week, we warned you about multiple hacking groups exploiting leaked NSA hacking tools, but almost all of them were making use of only two tools: EternalBlue and DoublePulsar. Now, Miroslav Stampar, a security researcher who created famous 'sqlmap' tool and now a member of the Croatian Government CERT, has discovered a new network worm, dubbed EternalRocks , which is more dangerous than WannaCry and has no kill-switch in it. Unlike WannaCry, EternalRocks seems to be designed to function secretly in order to ensure that it remains undetectable on the affected system. However, Stampar learned of EternalRocks after it infected his SMB honeypot . The NSA exploits used by EternalRocks, which Stampar called " Do

More Hacking Groups Found Exploiting SMB Flaw Weeks Before WannaCry

More Hacking Groups Found Exploiting SMB Flaw Weeks Before WannaCry
May 19, 2017Mohit Kumar
Since the Shadow Brokers released the zero-day software vulnerabilities and hacking tools – allegedly belonged to the NSA's elite hacking team Equation Group – several hacking groups and individual hackers have started using them in their own way. The April's data dump was believed to be the most damaging release by the Shadow Brokers till the date, as it publicly leaked lots of Windows hacking tools , including dangerous Windows SMB exploit. After the outbreak of WannaCry last week, security researchers have identified multiple different campaigns exploiting Windows SMB vulnerability (CVE-2017-0143), called Eternalblue , which has already compromised hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide. I have been even confirmed by multiple sources in hacking and intelligence community that there are lots of groups and individuals who are actively exploiting Eternalblue for different motives. Moreover, the Eternalblue SMB exploit ( MS17-010 ) has now been ported to  Met

Shadow Brokers, Who Leaked WannaCry SMB Exploit, Are Back With More 0-Days

Shadow Brokers, Who Leaked WannaCry SMB Exploit, Are Back With More 0-Days
May 16, 2017Swati Khandelwal
The infamous hacking collective Shadow Brokers – the one who leaked the Windows SMB exploit in public that led to last weekend's WannaCrypt menace – are back, this time, to cause more damage. In typically broken English, the Shadow Brokers published a fresh statement (with full of frustration) a few hours ago, promising to release more zero-day bugs and exploits for various desktop and mobile platforms starting from June 2017. However, this time the Shadow Brokers leaks will not be available for everybody, as the hacking collective said: "TheShadowBrokers is launching new monthly subscription model. Is being like [the] wine of month club. Each month peoples can be paying membership fee, then getting members only data dump each month." To some extent, this is good news, but it is terrible news too. Good because now all these upcoming alleged unpatched vulnerabilities will be patched after being disclosed and terrible because the group will sell new zero-day e
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