The US's most secretive intelligence agency was embarrassingly robbed and mocked by anonymous hackers
The National Security Agency, the U.S.'s largest and most secretive intelligence agency, has been hacked, robbed, mocked, and deeply infiltrated by anonymous hackers, according to a new New York Times expose.
Essentially, the NSA, which compiles massive troves of data on U.S. citizens and organizes cyber offensives against the U.S.'s enemies, was deeply breached by a group known as the "Shadow Brokers."
Those brokers now post cryptic, mocking messages pointed towards the NSA as they sell the cyber weapons, created at a huge cost to U.S. taxpayers, to any and all buyers, including the U.S.'s enemies like North Korea and Russia.
"It's a disaster on multiple levels," Jake Williams, a cybersecurity expert who formerly worked on the NSA's hacking group, told the Times. "It's embarrassing that the people responsible for this have not been brought to justice."
"These leaks have been incredibly damaging to our intelligence and cyber capabilities," Leon E. Panetta, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency told the Times. "The fundamental purpose of intelligence is to be able to effectively penetrate our adversaries in order to gather vital intelligence. By its very nature, that only works if secrecy is maintained and our codes are protected."
Furthermore, a wave of cybercrime has been linked to the release of the NSA's leaked cyber weapons.
According to another NSA source who spoke to the Times, the attack is partially the NSA's own fault. The NSA has long prioritized cyber offense over securing its own systems, according to the source. As a result, the U.S. now essentially has to start over on cyber initiatives, Panetta said, as it's totally exposed now.