“This is not a drill” said former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in a Twitter post Friday, that has since been removed.
He was talking about the fact that on Friday, a group of hackers released what they claim to be “documents detailing the surveillance tools used by the NSA for its hacking program that can break into millions of Microsoft Windows computers and may have been used to break into the Middle East financial network,” according to a report in the Washington Examiner.
The tools, revealed by the Shadow Brokers, are reportedly designed to hack into Microsoft Windows operating systems. Some of the documents indicate that the agency used them to target the SWIFT banking system, a worldwide network of financial institutions.
This is not a drill: #NSA exploits affecting many fully-patched Windows systems have been released to the wild. NSA did not warn Microsoft. https://t.co/2H8F7vH7fW— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) April 14, 2017
Famous for his role as an NSA whistle-blower who leaked secret information to the public from the NSA’s surveillance programs, Snowden tweeted that these NSA “exploits affecting many fully-patched Windows systems have been released to the wild. NSA did not warn Microsoft.”
Snowden also made it clear that the NSA was aware as recently as last year that their hacking methods had been stolen, but they instead accused the agency of refusing to tell software makers “how to lock the thieves out.”
Millions of Microsoft computers with operating systems leading up to, but not including the current Windows 10, could be compromised.
“It’s not safe to run an Internet-facing Windows box right now,” said a hacker who previously worked in the Defense Department, noting, “this is the worst thing since Snowden.”
Microsoft has promised to “take the necessary actions to protect our customers.”
Computer security researcher Matt Suiche, founder of UAE-based Comae Technologies, wrote in his blog that Friday’s document dump “is by far, the most interesting release from Shadow Brokers as it does not only contain tools. He also warned that if the documents are verified, “it seems that the NSA sought to totally capture the backbone of international financial system to have a God’s eye into a SWIFT Service Bureau — and potentially the entire SWIFT network.”
According to the documents, the NSA apparently targeted an office in Dubai for EastNets, an anti-money laundering and financial services firm. However, EastNets said that there is “no credibility” that customer information on its SWIFT service bureau was compromised. They explained that the information comes from outdated pages from an internal server retired in 2013.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) April 15, 2017
#NSA knew their hacking methods were stolen last year, but refused to tell software makers how to lock the thieves out. Are they liable?
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) April 14, 2017
H/T: Washington Examiner
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