If there’s one message we can all take away from the last year it’s never use a personal computer or email for government work.
A National Security Agency contractor moved highly classified U.S. cyber defense materials to his home computer, which allowed government-backed Russian hackers to steal the data, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The WSJ said its sources revealed the stolen confidential information included how the U.S. penetrates foreign computer networks and defends against cyberattacks, even the computer code it uses for cyber spying.
“Having such information could give the Russian government information on how to protect its own networks, making it more difficult for the NSA to conduct its work,” the Journal explained. “It also could give the Russians methods to infiltrate the networks of the U.S. and other nations.”
The hackers were apparently made aware of the files through the antivirus software on the unnamed contractor’s personal computer, software that so happens to be made by Russia-based Kaspersky Lab. That same software was blacklisted for use by U.S. government agencies in early September.
The Moscow-based cybersecurity firm denied the allegations of their involvement in the hack in an official statement from the company. Founder Eugene Kaspersky gave a more colourful comment in an online post writing the WSJ story “sounds like the script of a C movie.”
The incident is said to have occurred two years ago in 2015, but the Journal reports the security breach wasn’t discovered until spring of last year.
The NSA has yet to comment on the security breach.