Russian hackers steal classified USA cyber defence data

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The cyber sleuths accessed the information from a National Security Agency contractor who took classified data and put it on his home computer, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The material was highly classified and was identified by the hackers since the contractor was using Russian Kaspersky Lab antivirus software, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Of course it was only previous year that Harold Martin, a contractor for the NSA, was arrested after he knowingly took home documents and digital files that contained highly sensitive information. Those reports do not contain any evidence Kaspersky was complicit in the attack, something the company denies. Security researchers have been offering speculation on Twitter regarding what it could mean when the Journal's sources say that Kaspersky's software aided the hackers, but it's hard to nail down what theories stand up best because of the limited information we have from the report.

Last month, the US government moved to ban the use of Kaspersky security software by federal agencies over concerns it had ties to Kremlin cyberespionage activities. There is no other information about the defence contractor's computer contained.

The implication, then, is that somehow the files being flagged by Kaspersky's anti-virus software and Russian Federation swooping in to copy them are linked - but, naturally, the company denies any wrongdoing or collusion. Jeanne Shaheen said Thursday that the widespread use of Kaspersky software was no excuse for what she called the slow action by the USA intelligence community and the broader federal government. Efforts are now being made to discover how much information was leaked and who stole it.

An undated aerial handout photo shows the National Security Agency headquarters building in Fort Meade, Maryland. In fact, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke said in September that she was banning the entire federal government from using Kaspersky.

Kaspersky Lab is a Russian company with alleged ties to state-sponsored cyberespionage.

He said it's possible the contractor was working to develop malicious code for the NSA, which could have triggered an alarm at Kaspersky, which then looked at that data.

"We make no apologies for being aggressive in the battle against malware and cybercriminals".

"NSA needs to get its head out of the sand and solve its contractor problem". Three months ago, news leaked of an Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into the Russia-based anti-virus firm, and less than a month ago the USA government ordered the Kaspersky software purged from all of its computers.

Reports are claiming that it may have helped Russian spies in gaining access to some critical information.

Once authorized for use on computers belonging to the Army, Navy and Air Force, Kaspersky software continues to be sold widely throughout Western Europe and the Americas, including the United States.

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