NSA Contractor Brought Classified Info Home. Russians Got It: Report

Sources say data breach compromises US cyber defense
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2017 1:53 PM CDT
Report: Russian Hackers Compromised US Cyber Defense
This June 6, 2013 photo shows the National Security Administration campus in Fort Meade, Md.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

A National Security Agency contractor who apparently wanted to get a little extra work done from home inadvertently provided highly classified material to the Russian government, the Wall Street Journal states in an exclusive report. Unnamed sources say an NSA contractor brought the material home with him in 2015 where it was identified by hackers working for the Russian government through the contractor's use of antivirus software made by Russia's Kaspersky Lab. Kaspersky says it has more than 400 million users around the world, and US security officials have long believed it works with the Russian government. NSA employees and contractors are discouraged from using Kaspersky products on their home computers.

Russian hackers are said to have gotten their hands on information regarding how the US accesses foreign computer networks and defends itself against cyberattacks, and the computer code used by the NSA for spying. Sources say the stolen data could help the Russian government protect itself from NSA spying or find new ways to access US computer networks. The breach, which didn't become known until spring of 2016, was so serious it was given a code name, members of Congress were informed, and NSA head Adm. Michael Rogers was reprimanded by his superiors. It has yet to be publicly acknowledged. The NSA is refusing to comment, and Kaspersky says it has no evidence of hackers using its products for such a breach. Read the full report here. (More Russian hackers stories.)

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