Snowden: Leak Of NSA Hacking Tools Are Russia’s ‘Warning’ To The US Government

In a recent string of tweets, the whistleblower warned that recently leaked NSA hacking tools ‘could have significant foreign policy consequences. Particularly if any of those operations targeted US allies.’
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    A reflection of the Department of Homeland Security logo in the eyeglasses of a cybersecurity analyst at the watch and warning center of the Department of Homeland Security's secretive cyber defense facility in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

    A reflection of the Department of Homeland Security logo in the eyeglasses of a cybersecurity analyst at the watch and warning center of the Department of Homeland Security’s secretive cyber defense facility in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

    AUSTIN, Texas — According to whistleblower Edward Snowden, a recent leak of secret NSA hacking tools reflects an escalation in tensions between Russia and the United States. For others, though, it highlights concerns about what, if any, privacy is afforded to the general public.

    The NSA whistleblower lit up Twitter on Tuesday with suggestions of “Russian responsibility” in the recent release of the NSA tools, noting that it could be a response to accusations by the Hillary Clinton campaign that Russian hackers leaked internal Democratic National Convention emails.

    The suite of hacking tools, which were leaked by a group calling themselves the Shadow Brokers, consists of complex “malware” programs, malicious software designed to secretly take over targeted networks by exploiting security vulnerabilities in commercially available, widely used internet software.

    Snowden, who leaked classified NSA documents which revealed the agency’s surveillance of millions of people around the world, was forced to take asylum in Russia in 2013 after the U.S. government canceled his passport.

    Though Snowden and other computer security experts have pointed toward Russia as the originator of the NSA malware leak, some former NSA staffers disagree. On Wednesday, Motherboard interviewed a former NSA staffer who speculated that the leak could be the result of another insider — in effect, another Snowden.

    “My colleagues and I are fairly certain that this was no hack, or group for that matter,” the former NSA employee told Motherboard. “This ‘Shadow Brokers’ character is one guy, an insider employee.”

    Regardless of the source of the NSA leak, the files reveal a growing reliance on high-tech tools and government hackers from all sides of what some have deemed a “new Cold War.”

     

    ‘The keys to the kingdom’

    Along with Snowden’s string of tweets, two former NSA employees contacted by The Washington Post on Tuesday also confirmed that the leaked hacking tools are genuine NSA software.

    “Without a doubt, they’re the keys to the kingdom,” said one unnamed former member of the Tailored Access Operations, the NSA’s euphemism for its hacking division, in an interview with the Post’s national security reporter, Ellen Nakashima.

    “The stuff you’re talking about would undermine the security of a lot of major government and corporate networks both here and abroad,” the TAO hacker added.

    On Friday, The Intercept published a selection of newly released files from Snowden’s original leak which seemed to further confirm their authenticity.

    “[W]hile it remains unclear how the software leaked,” Sam Biddle reported, “one thing is now beyond speculation: The malware is covered with the NSA’s virtual fingerprints and clearly originates from the agency.”

    According to Biddle, a manual for NSA hackers instructs operatives to use a 16-digit code to track their use of a particular malware program, codenamed SECONDDATE. That code also appears in the Shadow Brokers’ leak of SECONDDATE.

    “SECONDDATE plays a specialized role inside a complex global system built by the U.S. government to infect and monitor what one document estimated to be millions of computers around the world,” Biddle wrote.

     

    Snowden explains ‘what’s new’ about the latest NSA hack

    Under Snowden’s theory of the NSA hack, the agency’s secret hacking tools were released in retaliation for Clinton’s accusations of Russian involvement in the leak of 20,000 internal DNC emails published by WikiLeaks. The “DNC Leaks” damaged the reputation of Clinton’s campaign and forced the resignation of several Democratic Party leaders, including former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

    But the Clinton campaign’s accusations were based largely on circumstantial evidence provided by Tom Kellerman, a computer expert with ties to the NSA, according to a July 25 analysis by MintPress News’ editor-in-chief Mnar Muhawesh. Muhawesh wrote:

    “Kellerman, CEO of Strategic Cyber Ventures, alleges that the WikiLeaks’ DNC email leak is tied to Putin. It’s worth noting, though, that his own firm is made up of former executives from the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team and Booz Allen Hamilton, where NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden once worked. Indeed, many private cyber security jobs are held by people who used to work in or close to the government.”

    Snowden speculated that the Shadow Brokers did not breach the NSA’s internal servers, but rather accessed an external system used to launch a cyber attack. Agency operatives are warned to clean up their traces. “But,” Snowden tweeted, “people get lazy.”

    Not only did this security error allow the leak of the tools themselves, but it also means that any hacks carried out by that server could be definitively linked to the U.S. government.

    The link between NSA tools and a particular server has the potential to spark an international incident, particularly if any of that server was used to target U.S. allies or their elections, the whistleblower added.

    “Snowden believes Russia is sending a warning on the dangers of attributing cyberattacks,” Thomas Fox-Brewster, a staff writer at Forbes, wrote on Tuesday in response to Snowden’s tweets.

     

    A growing US cyber war

    Writing for The Atlantic on Friday, Kaveh Waddell explained that SECONDDATE “allows the NSA to execute ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacks, which intercept traffic on a network as it’s traveling from its origin to its destination. The agency used it to redirect users who think they’re browsing safe websites to NSA-run servers that infect their computers with malware—and then back to their destination before they know what happened.”

    And SECONDDATE is just one of many tools that the U.S. government hopes to use to commit espionage and fight warfare online. To this end, the U.S. government is spending big and leaving no rock unturned. The annual Red Flag military exercises, which ended last week in the Nevada desert, included training in hacking enemy computer systems and GPS satellites.

    However, this digital focus is far from new. Surveillance experts says it’s likely that the U.S. has spent years quietly boosting its capabilities, including infecting thousands of computers with malware “implants.” The Intercept’s Ryan Gallagher and Glenn Greenwald wrote in March 2014:

    “The NSA began rapidly escalating its hacking efforts a decade ago. In 2004, according to secret internal records, the agency was managing a small network of only 100 to 150 implants. But over the next six to eight years, as an elite unit called Tailored Access Operations (TAO) recruited new hackers and developed new malware tools, the number of implants soared to tens of thousands.”

    In 2013, The Washington Post revealed that the NSA spends millions of dollars purchasing security holes on the black market. According to a report from Computerworld on Friday, the NSA claims that it reveals 91 percent of those vulnerabilities so they can be fixed, but there’s no way to be sure if the agency is telling the truth — or how serious it would be if the remaining vulnerabilities were exploited.

     

    A loss of privacy ‘in the name of national security or whatever’

    Experts suggest it was inevitable that the NSA’s toolbox would eventually be revealed for other hackers to use, potentially maliciously against the general public.

    “This is the risk when you have an increasingly large vulnerability repository that’s been around for a while,” Jeremiah Grossman, chief of security strategy at SentinelOne, told Computerworld’s Michael Kan. “You got to expect this will happen.”

    As both government and criminal hacking activity increases, everyday citizens are becoming increasingly vulnerable, as Alice Donovan noted Wednesday on MyMPN, the MintPress News reader submission blog. She continued:

    “Nearly 1 in 3 Americans deals with some kind of health record compromise, and most of the time they are completely unaware it happened. This means that criminals gain huge amounts of information about people, including their social security numbers, phone numbers, addresses, and even their personal health information.”

    Indeed, some would argue the NSA leak vindicates Apple’s refusal to open a backdoor into the company’s phones earlier this year, citing the risk that if the government could access it, malicious hackers could, too.

    On Friday, the Editorial Board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette suggested Americans, as well as the U.S. government, are ill-equipped to deal with this new loss of privacy and security. The DNC leaks, while “alarming,” are “peanuts compared to the loss of privacy of however many Americans and others the NSA may have been bugging, in the name of national security or whatever.”

    With the agency’s secret tools now compromised, the Board warned of “the potential of an enemy, or even a madman, hacking America’s electrical grid, or its water supply controls, or its airport tower computers.”
    They concluded:

    “All we can say is, first, that the NSA really needs to stay ahead of these people in its technology. Second, the pieces of America’s vital infrastructure need to have gold-plated protection and backup. Third, no American should imagine for one second that what he or she thinks are private communications are, in fact, private anymore.”

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    • justin walker

      Have you guys checked out this guy Singh Gurdev at whitecap12345@gmail.com dude’s a cyber guru, involved with cloning phones, hacked into my ex’s gmail and facebook, what let me knowing she was infidel and also gave my nephew some really outstanding school scores which he upgraded himself, cool way to have financial freedom as well. Get your bank blank atm cards which could debit money from any atm machine. Make $20,000 and more in a couple days. Bank transfers and wire transfers as well as Paypal jobs, hes that good, had to make him my personal hacker. You could mail him as well if you got issues, he’s as discreet and professional too. He’s kinda picky though so make mention of the reference. Mathew referred you. Your welcome

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    • fgvyti

      snowden is a psy-op

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    • James Wherry

      Congratulations. Now ISIL and other organizations can set about trying to prevent their communications from being hacked – whether with a warrant or without a warrant. As a result, they will be more successful in murdering people.

      • Zedster

        Sheep

        • James Wherry

          For calling it like it is? Nope.

          • Zedster

            No for thinking that everything that MSM tells you is true. Your government kills way more people than ISIL wake up sheep

            • James Wherry

              Talk about a sheep! You’re simply parroting the lies of the Far Left in the USA and Europe and the America Haters abroad.

              At the moment, America IS killing ISIL and al-Quaeda. Readers of this Shi’ite website that shills for Iran should be showing some gratitude.

              • Zedster

                Keep thinkin that FOX media loving sheep. Learn to think for yourself.

                • James Wherry

                  And YOU need to start questioning authority – the one thing the Left hates, since most of us figure out pretty quickly that the Left’s authority (and intelligence) are on thin ice.

                  Take this website, for example. The founder worked for PressTV and regularly uses their articles. Yet Mnar NEVER seems to identify the WHOLE website. http://www.PressTV.ir. As in IRAN. Yes, this “news” source is nothing but a shill for the Shi’ite dictatorship of Iran.

                  • tapatio

                    JAMES WHERRY IS “HASBARA” TROLL EMPLOYED BY THE ZIONIST DISEASE. HE’S ALSO A BIT OF A “MAN-BOY-“LOVE” PIECE OF GARBAGE, HAVING PURCHASED A MAIL-ORDER BOY(surely the minimum legal age) FROM THE PHILIPPINES.

                    • James Wherry

                      You obsess about me, so very much, tapatio. Time for you NAMBLA Filth to have a professional address your s-xual obsession with me and my husband.

                  • James Wherry

                    The human excrement, below, is “tapatio,” MintPressNews’ Pet NAZ!. He claims to be a “Christian” but hates the Jewish prophets of God. He has stated his goal is to “ERADICATE Judaism.” He has called Jews “filth.” This includes Jews like Jill Stein and her family.

              • tapatio

                The greatest prerequisite in the war against ISIS (and AQ, Boko Haram, etc) is the recognition of EXACTLY who benefits from those terrorist organizations………..QUI BONO is the first question that MUST be asked in every criminal investigation.
                Yes, Al Qaeda’s claiming of 9/11 was true. Yes, ISIS’s claim to the Paris attacks was true. But, who employs those groups? Whose agenda do those terrorist monsters actually serve?

                As the aftermath of 9/11 so clearly demonstrated, the ONLY beneficiaries were those wishing to destabilize those Middle Eastern countries not already “allies” of the US and its banker masters.

                A couple of documents are very relevant to this discussion.

                First is a plan, written, in 1996, for Netanyahu’s reign as Emperor of Greater Israel. The writer is the pseudo-American Zionist fanatic, Richard Perle………

                http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1438.htm

                “………by establishing the precedent that Syrian territory is not immune to attacks emanating from Lebanon by Israeli proxy forces.”

                Next
                is a report A Report of The Project for the New American Century completed in
                September 2000………..

                http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/pdf/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf

                Compare actual events from 2001 to date to the plans outlined in this “report”. Please
                note, at the end of the report, the list of fanatical Zionists and their sycophants who are responsible for……

                “REBUILDING AMERICA’S DEFENSES Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century”

                Paul Wolfowitz

                William Kristol

                Alvin Bernstein

                Eliot Cohen

                David Epstein

                Donald Kagan

                Fred Kagan

                Robert Kagan

                Robert Killebrew

                Steve Rosen

                Gary Schmitt

                Abram Shulsky

                Dov Zakheim

            • tapatio

              James Wherry is the resident Zionist “hasbara” troll on Mint Press. He vomits up whatever lies are in their current propaganda. Below is a bit of information about him. BTW, his avatar photo is apparently from long ago – when he had hair.

              JAMES WHERRY is a “hasbara” troll for the outlaw Jewish state and a child molester who is too cowardly to face the possibility of prison (and the monsters that would use him there) and so chooses the youngest possible “legal” boy from a culture where the boy is so desperate to escape the poverty that he will accept ANY humiliation.

              THIS is the sort of filth that makes up Zionism and its ranks of Gentile sycophants.

              Even though Wherry was an officer in the US military, his first loyalty is obviously to Zionism. Zionists follow the Jewish “Chosen” Master-Race delusion promoted in Judaism’s Talmud.

              Wherry resides, with his boy paramour, Mario, at 6300 MILGEN RD APT 1403 COLUMBUS, GA 31907, (15 minutes from the gate of School of the Americas – the world’s largest death squad and terrorist training facility) should anyone wish to drop by to say, “HI”.

              http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/news/local/article29462263.html

              HILARIOUS………..
              “I’m very happy about it,” James Wherry said. “Marriage is the bedrock of our society. I hope that same-sex couples can rejuvenate and revitalize marriage and give it the respect it is due.”

              I don’t really think that Wherry is qualified to “REVITALIZE MARRIAGE AND GIVE IT THE RESPECT IT DESERVES” with his perverted man-boy love predatory relationship

              James Wherry said he and Mario Jay Wherry met through gaymatchmaker.com. James Wherry proposed and flew to the Philippines to hold an engagement party with Mario Jay Wherry and his family. Mario Jay Wherry arrived in the United States at the end of May.

              Wherry and his little paramour at their “wedding”. Being gay is one thing. Sexual use of someone young enough to be his child, and who would do ANYTHING to escape the disgusting poverty and violence of a culture like that in the Philippines, makes Wherry a s-xual predator.

            • James Wherry

              The thing below is “tapatio,” the resident pet NAZ!. He praises Hitler for the Holocaust. Here’s one of the screenshots.

            • James Wherry

              Tapatio calls Jews – ALL JEWS – “filth.” This includes Jill Stein and her family.

    • I surly would never consider these folks in the U.S. government. Sarc/off! Jul 28, 2016 DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge: What Is Capture the Flag?

      “Capture the Flag” is a game played by both children and hackers. But whereas children look for flags hidden in their opponents’ forts, hackers look for software flaws hidden in previously unexplored code. Every year at the DEF CON conference, the world’s best hackers meet to test their hacking skills against each other.

      https://youtu.be/qSgYu3w3DMM

    • 08.17.16. THE SHADOW BROKERS MESS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE NSA HOARDS ZERO-DAYS

      On Wednesday, networking equipment firms Cisco and Fortinet warned customers about vulnerabilities revealed in data posted to the web days earlier by an anonymous group calling itself Shadow Brokers. The group claimed it obtained the data by hacking of an elite espionage team known as Equation Group and linked to the NSA.

      https://www.wired.com/2016/08/shadow-brokers-mess-happens-nsa-hoards-zero-days/