Political News

NYT: NSA struggling following major leaks

Posted November 13, 2017 8:31 a.m. EST

— The National Security Agency's cyberweapons are being used against them following a series of leaks by an unknown group, according to a published report.

The New York Times, citing current and former agency officials, is reporting that a group called the Shadow Brokers has been targeting the NSA with the tools the agency developed to spy on other countries. North Korean and Russian hackers "picked up" and "shot back at the United States and its allies," the Times reports.

As a result of several information dumps, millions of computers were infected with ransomware, and FedEx and Mondelez International were impacted. Hospitals around the world "had to turn away patients." And thousands of other businesses around the world, spanning from a car plant to a Tanzanian chocolate factory, were impacted, the Times says.

According to the Times, the 15-month investigation into the NSA by its counterintelligence arm and the FBI still has not led to a clear source of the leaks.

Although postings from the Shadow Group are often in broken English, the Times notes that posts are "laced with profane jokes but also savvy cultural and political references."

According to the Times, in an effort to identify those in connection with the leaks, some "NSA employees have been subjected to polygraphs and suspended from their jobs." As a result, "morale has plunged."

Adm. Mike S. Rogers, the director of the NSA, was also under pressure over the leaks, the Times report suggests. President Barack Obama didn't fire Rogers after the leaks surfaced, against the advice of members of his Cabinet. Part of the reason, the Times adds, is because of Rogers' role in investigating into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

CNN has reached out to the White House for comment about whether the Trump administration still has confidence in Rogers.

So far, none of the leaked files obtained by the Shadow Brokers date later than 2013. However, they reportedly have "a large share" of kits "containing the software to bypass computer firewalls, penetrate Windows and break into the Linux systems most commonly used on Android phones."

The kits are intact, the Times reports, "suggesting that an insider might have simply pocketed a thumb drive and walked out."