National Security Agency or the NSA as we know it is America’s most influential intelligence agency. Previously fairly anonymous to masses; the agency came in the news when one of its ex-contractors Edward Snowden started releasing highly sensitive data exposing how the NSA secretly spied on millions of people around the world and stored data on unsuspecting populous.
However now, New York Times has revealed that NSA had been “deeply infiltrated” over the years. Especially after The Shadow Brokers conducted a massive data breach against its cyberinfrastructure when on August 13, 2016, the group announced it stole a trove of data from the agency’s servers and sold/leaked them online for everyone including countries like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea to view.
The stolen data included agency’s cyberweapons and exploits that were later used in large-scale ransomware attacks including WannaCry, Petya, and BadRabbit. All three ransomware attacks targeted Europe and the United States, infecting millions of computers causing businesses billions in damages.
While The Shadow Brokers are still mocking the agency and posting download links to its stolen hacking tools, authorities in the United States are still clueless about the culprits. According to the Times, in order to identify people behind the breach or their links to the hacking group “NSA employees have been subjected to polygraphs and suspended from their jobs.”
According to Jake Williams, a cybersecurity specialist and former member of the NSA’s hacking unit “It’s a disaster on multiple levels,” Williams NYT. “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 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.”
The Times report reveals the scary picture of powerlessness faced by the world’s most powerful intelligence agency. “These leaks have been incredibly damaging to our intelligence and cyber capabilities,” Leon E. Panetta, director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the former defense secretary told the Times. “Every time it happens, you essentially have to start over.”
Read the complete story on The New York Times.