Earlier this summer a supposed hacking group, calling itself Shadow Brokers, claimed it had infiltrated NSA systems and stolen vast amounts of data, including exploit, and hacking tools that the agency used. While there was some evidence the files shown off by the group were legitimate, it now turns out the treasure-trove of cyber weapons was likely leaked by a high-level contractor.
According to a report from the New York Times, the FBI has found forensic evidence that the tools and cyber weapons that were posted online by Shadow Brokers had actually been on a contractor’s machine. After the Shadow proclamation, the FBI and the National Security Agency (NSA) started investigating how the tools in question had reached enemy hands.
The answer seems to be one Harold T. Martin III, an ex high-level contractor for the NSA, who had actually worked on the team developing those weapons. Martin was arrested in August for what’s being called the largest mishandling of classified documents in US history. The contractor reportedly stole terabytes of data from the NSA, making the Snowden leaks look like a misplaced floppy disk by comparison.
Investigators are currently trying to ascertain whether the files were physically stolen from Martin’s house, his machine was hacked into, or whether he himself put up or leaked the files intentionally. According to the report, the latter seems most probable at this time.