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Monday, 13 November 2017 10:42

15 months into probe, NSA unaware how exploits leaked


The NSA's counter-intelligence arm, the Q Group, and the FBI have no clue as to how exploits created by the NSA's Tailored Access Operations group leaked to the outside world, despite 15 months of investigation.

There have been leaks by employees or contractors — including the well-known one by Booz Allen Hamilton employee Edward Snowden — and also leaks by the Shadow Brokers, a group that has proved untraceable.

But, The New York Times reported, the investigators were still in the dark as to whether it was a nation state — most likely Russia — that stole the exploits, or whether an insider was to blame.

The Shadow Brokers, who periodically surface with a post in what appears to be deliberate broken English, have released some NSA exploits to the world at large and offered others for sale.

Three NSA employees have been arrested for leaking secrets from the agency. One who was nabbed in 2015 has not been named. The other, Harold Martin, is awaiting trial.

And a third, Reality Winner, was arrested for leaking a single document to The Intercept.

The NYT story did not concentrate on any one aspect of the leaks; rather it was a general take on the effect that the leaks have had on the agency and morale within.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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