You know the old saying, ‘Set a thief, to catch a thief.’ That might be the best analogy to describe the alleged espionage web between the Israel’s hackers, the Kaspersky hackers, and a contractor working for a U.S. government agency, the NSA.
It is no secret there is no ‘love’ between the NSA and Kaspersky. The former has on numerous occasions prohibited federal agencies from using the latter’s products. The FBI has taken the ‘no-love’ relationship between the U.S. and Kaspersky a notch higher by advising private companies not to use the Russia-based security company’s products.
The latest bond accusation being levied on Kaspersky by a U.S. officials comes from an alleged hack on the NSA by Russian hackers who made away with official cyber defense material. This alleged hack was purportedly conducted in 2015. The NSA claims it noticed the stolen files while using the Kaspersky software.
There was little news made public as to exactly what files were stolen, and who made the discovery. This news broke out last week, and it is up to until this week when it was revealed that it was Israeli hackers who made the discovery and informed the NSA.
However, how did the Israeli hackers know that Russian hackers were hacking the NSA? That is where it gets interesting! So apparently, Israeli hackers hacked into Kaspersky and watched Kaspersky hack into a contractor working for the NSA.
Kaspersky could not hack directly into the NSA, following the U.S. government agency advice to all other government agencies to stay away from Kaspersky products. It would appear that the contractor who was working for the NSA did not get that memo, and provided a leeway for Russian hackers to gain access to the NSA files.
The New York Times reports that it is the Israeli officials that tipped off U.S. official that Russian hackers had intruded into the contractor hired by the NSA. The Israeli came to this knowledge after hacking into Kaspersky’s network.
On its part, Kaspersky talked about a compromise on its system back in June 2015. However, Kaspersky does not directly implicate Israel for hacking its system. Although it did drop hints by referring to the ‘Duqu 2.0’ attack, which is linked to the Duqu malware that is again linked to the Stuxnet virus.
FYI, the Stuxnet virus is linked to a joint cyber-weapon operation between Israel and the U.S. when the two wanted to stop the Iran nuclear program. The Stuxnet virus was directed directly to Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility. The virus did not stop just at the Iranian nuclear facility, it was later found in Azerbaijan, India, and Indonesia among other world areas.
Kaspersky claims that the June 2015 breach on its system was by a virus with the same algorithm as Duqu. Other victims of cyber-attacks were also by the same virus reported by Kaspersky were in America; this rules out a possible collusion between the U.S. and Israel.