11 months ago
Last April it was discovered that the National Security Agency, America’s largest and most secretive intelligence agency, had been infiltrated by the Shadow Brokers. The group had somehow obtained many of the hacking tools the U.S. used to spy on other countries. Jake Williams, a former member of the N.S.A.’s hacking group, Tailored Access Operations (TAO), said that the hackers had “operational insight that even most of my fellow operators at TAO did not have,” according to The New York Times.
The Times writes that the information released by the Shadow Brokers, which started to be released in August 2016, has been catastrophic for the NSA. The hack has called into question the NSA’s ability to protect potent cyberweapons, and also, the group’s own value to national security.
“These leaks have been incredibly damaging to our intelligence and cyber capabilities,” said Leon E. Panetta, the former defense secretary and director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to 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.”
The cyberweapons released by Shadow Broker were created at a huge expense to American taxpayers, and have now been picked up by hackers from North Korea to Russia and “shot back at the United States and its allies,” writes The Times.
Fifteen months after the hack was discovered, it is still not clear if NSA is the victim of a hack, most likely executed by Russia, or an insider’s leak, or both. The Times writes that people are worried leakers could still be in the NSA.