An employee in the virus lab at the headquarters of the Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab in Moscow.
- Russian hackers reportedly stole top-secret intelligence from the National Security Agency by exploiting Kaspersky antivirus software.
- Experts say that, depending on what was stolen from the contractor, the revelation could be “catastrophic” for Kaspersky Lab.
- The FBI has warned the private sector not to use Kaspersky software, and President Donald Trump in September banned all government agencies from using it.
Investigators believe that software from Russia’s top cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Lab, was involved in a theft of top-secret National Security Agency intelligence outlining how the US hacks its adversaries, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
And depending on what was stolen, the breach could spell catastrophe for the company.
The Journal reported that an NSA contractor stole and downloaded onto his personal computer highly classified details about how the US penetrates foreign computer networks and defends itself against cyberattacks. (The Washington Post reported that the person was not a contractor but an employee working for the NSA’s elite hacking division known as Tailored Access Operations.)
Russian hackers then reportedly stole that intelligence by exploiting the Kaspersky antivirus software the contractor had been running on his computer.
The breach wasn’t discovered until the spring of 2016, according to The Journal and The Washington Post – nearly one year after the hackers are believed to have gained access to the intelligence.