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Report: Russian hackers stole sensitive NSA information on US cyber defense

Image credit: Patrick Semansky, AP

Critical NSA data on U.S. cyber defense mechanics have purportedly been stolen in a hack perpetrated with the backing of the Russian government, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

While the NSA itself was not hacked, the report claims hackers were able to obtain the aforementioned data by penetrating the personal computer of an NSA contractor, who had taken classified material home. The report also hints at the possibility that Kaspersky software - which the contractor had installed - may have been used in the undertaking and was used to identify the files in question.

There is no indication as to whether Kaspersky Lab was directly involved in the hack and, for its part, the company denied any involvement in such a hack and issued the following statement:

[Kaspersky Lab] has not been provided any information or evidence substantiating this alleged incident, and as a result, we must assume that this is another example of a false accusation. [Kaspersky Lab] does not have inappropriate ties to any government, including Russia, and the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts."

The breach, which was carried out in 2015, may have been a part of the reasoning behind a ban on the use of Kaspersky software in all federal agencies just last month.

According to The Journal, the breached data contained information pertaining to how the NSA penetrates foreign systems, the code it uses in doing so and the measures it takes to protect domestic networks. The publication classified the breach as "one of the most significant security breaches in recent years."

Both the NSA and the Russian government neither confirmed nor denied the incident.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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