Hackers released documents and files Friday that cybersecurity experts said indicated the U.S. National Security Agency had accessed the SWIFT interbank messaging system, allowing it to monitor money flows among some Middle Eastern and Latin American banks.
According to Motherboard, the most unsafe program in the release is an NSA program known as FUZZBUNCH, "a hacking suite or toolkit that contains several plug-and-play exploits to attack several versions of Windows operating system".
Hacking group the Shadow Brokers has today dumped a new collection of Windows hacks used by the NSA to target computers on the web.
Shadow Brokers first surfaced past year offering for sale a suite of hacking tools from the NSA.
On Friday, April 14, the actor group identifying itself as the Shadow Brokers released new information containing exploits for previously disclosed and undisclosed vulnerabilities that affect various versions of Microsoft Windows, as well as applications such as Lotus Domino.
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Hundreds of megabytes worth of sophisticated hacking tools purportedly stolen from the National Security Agency became publicly available Friday, triggering security experts across the globe to sound alarms as the US government's weaponized software exploits seemingly entered the wild.
The files, according to computer security analysts, also showed the NSA had found and exploited numerous vulnerabilities in a range of Microsoft Windows products widely used on computers around the world.
This is published unedited from the IANS feed.
The NSA could not immediately be reached for comment.
Given that the Shadow Brokers have been sitting on this information since August 2016, the NSA presumably knew that the hacker group may have had access to their cyberweapons stockpile and could have alerted Microsoft, which in turn may have helped the firm issue out patches to protect users from potential attacks.
This latest leak of United States government agency cyber weapons comes just one month after revelations that the CIA had also lost its own array of cyber weaponry on the dark web.
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The company said Friday that the leaked documents were dated and denied that any customer data had been affected.
The U.S. government has always been able to access financial data through SWIFT as part of an anti-terrorism effort.
"This may well be the most damaging dump against the NSA to date, and it is without question the most damaging post-Snowden release", computer security researcher Nicholas Weaver wrote on the Lawfare blog.
"Whenever the NSA is caught going in the backdoor when they already had front-door access (such as the backdoor monitoring of Google and Yahoo's internal communication revealed in the Snowden documents), it not only closes the backdoor but also results in legal pushback that may limit the front-door access", Weaver told CNNTech in an email.
"The reports of an alleged hacker-compromised EastNets Service Bureau network is totally false and unfounded", it said.
Hickey said there are now no patches available for some of the working exploits.
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Microsoft appears to be taking the news seriously.