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Friday, 29 March 2019 09:33

Former NSA contractor gets nine years for data theft

Former NSA contractor gets nine years for data theft Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Former NSA contractor Harold Martin has pleaded guilty to taking a huge amount of classified data home and is likely to be jailed for six more years, which would bring his total stay in prison to nine years.

He will have to live under supervision for three more years after the jail term ends.

Martin told the judge in Baltimore more than once, "It's time [to] close Pandora's Box", according to the CyberScoop website.

The former contractor is accused of taking more than 50 terabytes of data home and keeping it on various computers and drives on his home in Maryland.

Any chance of a link to the Shadow Brokers surfacing was scotched after the hearing.

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.

Former NSA hacker Jake Williams told iTWire that it was unlikely that Martin was in any way connected to the Brokers, an individual or group that leaked a large number of NSA exploits on the Web in 2016.

"I don't think the US Government widely thinks that's the case or he'd have been charged differently," added Williams.

Assistant Attorney-General for National Security John Demers said: “The American people entrusted Harold Martin with some of the nation’s most sensitive classified secrets.

“In turn, Martin owed them a duty to safeguard this information. He has admitted to violating their trust and putting our nation’s security at risk. With today’s plea, we are one step closer to holding Martin accountable for his dangerous and unlawful actions.”

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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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