Security Breach and Spilled Secrets Have Shaken the N.S.A. to Its Core [telecom]

Security Breach and Spilled Secrets Have Shaken the N.S.A. to Its Core

WASHINGTON - Jake Williams awoke last April in an Orlando, Fla., hotel where he was leading a training session. Checking Twitter, Mr. Williams, a cybersecurity expert, was dismayed to discover that he had been thrust into the middle of one of the worst security debacles ever to befall American intelligence.

Mr. Williams had written on his company blog about the Shadow Brokers, a mysterious group that had somehow obtained many of the hacking tools the United States used to spy on other countries. Now the group had replied in an angry screed on Twitter. It identified him - correctly - as a former member of the National Security Agency's hacking group, Tailored Access Operations, or T.A.O., a job he had not publicly disclosed. Then the Shadow Brokers astonished him by dropping technical details that made clear they knew about highly classified hacking operations that he had conducted.

A serial leak of the agency's cyberweapons has damaged morale, slowed intelligence operations and resulted in hacking attacks on businesses and civilians worldwide.

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***** Moderator's Note *****

When security news of this sort arrives, I'm never certain if it is or is not "telecom" related. Unfortunately, a major vendor of operating system software views "security" as a public-relations issue, and telephone operating companies don't consider it at all for certain all-important systems such as SS7. I'm afraid that there will be a major meltdown of the electronic banking or telephone systems as a result, so I publish major security news stories, mostly to encourage debate on this subject.

Bill Horne Moderator

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Monty Solomon
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