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Thursday, 28 March 2019 10:52

Ex-NSA man set to plead guilty to security secrets theft

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Ex-NSA man set to plead guilty to security secrets theft Pixabay

Former NSA contractor Harold Martin, who has been in jail for allegedly taking a massive horde of security material to his house, is set to plead guilty to the charges on Friday (Thursday US time).

But what would be more interesting about his plea is if he turns out to be connected to the Shadow Brokers, an individual or group that stole a number of exploits from the NSA and leaked them on the Web.

An article published in the US publication Politico in January drew connections between Martin and the Shadow Brokers, with a claim that researchers from Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab had tipped off the NSA that Martin could be worth investigating, after he allegedly sent Twitter messages to them.

Martin is said to have taken nearly 50 terabytes of data home over 20 years and was arrested in August 2016. The claims about his contacting Kaspersky Lab researchers were made after a court hearing in his case resulted in the release of redacted proceedings that mentioned some of the tweets in question.

The Politico article was the first time that there has been an attempt to link the Shadow Brokers to Russia through Martin. Prior to this, there was speculation that another arrested NSA employee, Nghia Hoang Pho, had unwittingly been the source for the Shadow Brokers.

Pho was taken into custody in 2015 after taking hacking tools home. He was sentenced to 5½ years in jail, followed by three years of supervised release, in September last year.

The NSA has been investigating the leak of its exploits for more than 2½ years.


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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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