- The National Security Agency, the US’s largest and most secretive intelligence agency, has reportedly been hacked, robbed, mocked, and deeply infiltrated by anonymous hackers.
- The NSA’s cyber weapons, which cost taxpayers a fortune, are now for sale to the US’s enemies and have already been used in cyber attacks against the public.
- Now doubt surrounds the NSA, and experts wonder if the agency can do its job at all.
The National Security Agency, the US’s largest and most secretive intelligence agency, has been hacked, robbed, mocked, and deeply infiltrated by anonymous hackers, according to a new New York Times expose.
Essentially, the NSA, which compiles massive troves of data on US citizens and organizes cyber offensives against the US’s enemies, was deeply breached by a group known as the “Shadow Brokers.”
Those brokers now post cryptic, mocking messages pointed towards the NSA as they sell the cyber weapons, created at huge cost to US taxpayers, to any and all buyers, including the US’s enemies like North Korea and Russia.
“It’s a disaster on multiple levels,” Jake Williams, a cyber security expert who formerly worked on the NSA’s hacking group, told the Times. “It’s embarrassing that the people responsible for this have not been brought to justice.”
“These leaks have been incredibly damaging to our intelligence and cyber capabilities,” Leon E. Panetta, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency told the Times. “The fundamental purpose of intelligence is to be able to effectively penetrate our adversaries in order to gather vital intelligence. By its very nature, that only works if secrecy is maintained and our codes are protected.”
Furthermore, a wave of cybercrime has been linked to the release of the NSA’s leaked cyber weapons.
According to another NSA source who spoke to the Times, the attack is partially the NSA’s own fault. The NSA has long prioritised cyber offence over securing its own systems, according to the source. As a result the US now essentially has to start over on cyber initiatives, Panetta said, as it’s totally exposed now.
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