The NSA’s hackers have a problem. Last week, multiple outlets reported that its elite Tailored Access Operations unit—tasked with breaking into foreign networks—suffered another serious data breach.
The theft of computer code and other material by an employee in 2015 allowed the Russian government to more easily detect U.S. cyber operations. It’s potentially the fourth large-scale incident at the NSA to be revealed in the last five years. Now, sources with direct knowledge of TAO’s security procedures in the recent past tell just how porous some of the defenses were to keep workers from stealing sensitive information.Read more
North Korea has reportedly stolen a large amount of joint US-South Korean war plans, including details on how Kim Jong-un is to be assassinated during a potential conflict.
Pyongyang’s secret army of hackers broke into the intranet of South Korea’s Defence Ministry in August and September last year and compromised a large cache of classified documents, Rhee Cheol-hee, a local politician said. Defence officials had previously admitted the breach but said no significant information had been stolen. However, Mr Rhee said the hackers had accessed OPLAN 5015, which is part of the most recent blueprint for war with North Korea that was drawn up by Seoul and Washington in 2015.Read more
Hackers are joining forces with U.S. governors and academics in a new group aimed at preventing the manipulation of voter machines and computer systems to sway the outcome of future U.S. elections, a source familiar with the project said on Monday.
The anti-hacking coalition’s members include organizers of last summer’s Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas, the National Governors Association and the Center for Internet Security, said the source, who asked not to be identified ahead of a formal announcement due to be made on Tuesday. The Washington-based Atlantic Council think tank and several universities are also part of the project, the source said.Read more
Russian hackers stole documents detailing how US agencies defend their networks against cyberattacks, how they breach foreign networks and the computer code they use to do so.
The stolen files were identified through Kaspersky security software used by an NSA contractor that had taken classified material from the NSA and saved it on his computer. The theft, discovered last spring, occurred in 2015 and those familiar with the incident told that having this information could help inform Russian officials how to protect their networks against the NSA and possibly how to break into US networks.Read more
Equifax said hackers might have stolen the personal information of 2.5 million more U.S. consumers than it initially estimated, bringing the total to 145.5 million.
The company said the additional customers were not victims of a new attack but rather victims who the company had not counted before. Equifax hired the forensic security firm Mandiant to investigate the breach, and it finished its report on Sunday. News of the new victims comes on the eve of congressional testimony to be given by Equifax’s former CEO Richard Smith, who will address a House subcommittee on Tuesday. He was forced into retirement last week in the wake of the attack.Read more
The FBI will not be forced to reveal details of a hacking tool used to break into a terrorist's iPhone, a case that sparked months of legal hostilities between Apple and the US government.
Vice News, USA Today, and the Associated Press filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit to reveal the name of the hacking tool's vendor and its price. The Justice Dept. launched legal action against Apple, which had refused to help unlock the phone, arguing the device's encryption could not be defeated -- even by the company. The FBI later obtained a hacking tool -- details of which the agency wants to keep secret.Read more
The U.S. National Security Agency conducted targeted surveillance over the past year against 106,000 foreigners suspected of being involved in terrorism and other crimes, using powers granted in a controversial section of law that’s set to expire at the end of this year.
The number of foreigners targeted under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act rose from 94,000 in fiscal year 2015, according to U.S. intelligence officials, who asked not to be identified discussing the information. The program lets agencies collect the content of emails and other communications from suspected foreign criminals operating outside the U.S.Read more
An international group of cryptography experts has forced the US NSA to back down over two data encryption techniques it wanted set as global industry standards, reflecting deep mistrust among close US allies.
In interviews and emails, academic and industry experts from countries including Germany, Japan and Israel worried that the U.S. electronic spy agency was pushing the new techniques not because they were good encryption tools, but because it knew how to break them. The NSA has now agreed to drop all but the most powerful versions of the techniques - those least likely to be vulnerable to hacks - to address the concerns.Read more
The top securities regulator in the United States said Wednesday night that its computer system had been hacked last year, giving the attackers private information that could have been exploited for trading.
The disclosure, coming on the heels of a data breach at Equifax, the major consumer credit reporting firm, is likely to intensify concerns over potential computer vulnerabilities lurking among pillars of the American financial system. The Securities and Exchange Commission said in a statement that it was still investigating the breach of its corporate filing system. The system, called Edgar, is used by companies to make legally required filings to the agency.Read more
A cache of voter records on over a half-million Americans has been found online. The records, totaling 593,328 individual sets of records, appear to contain every registered voter in the state of Alaska, according to researchers at the Kromtech Security Research Center.
The records were stored in a misconfigured CouchDB database, which was accessible to anyone with a web browser -- no password needed -- until Monday when the data was secured and subsequently pulled offline. The exposed data is just a portion of a larger voter file compiled by TargetSmart, which said its national voter file is the "most comprehensive and up-to-date voter file ever assembled."Read more