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How Chinese Spies Got the NSA's Hacking Tools, and Used Them for Attacks


The server room at cybersecurity firm Symantec.

Cybersecurity firm Symantec provided the first evidence that Chinese state-sponsored hackers had acquired some of the National Security Agencys cybertools.

Credit: Michal Czerwonka/The New York Times

Researchers at the cybersecurity firm Symantec discovered that Chinese intelligence agents acquired National Security Agency (NSA) hacking tools and repurposed them in 2016 to attack American allies and private companies in Europe and Asia.

The researchers used the timing of the attacks and clues in the computer code to conclude that the Chinese did not steal the code, but captured it from an NSA attack on their own computers.

The discovery demonstrates how difficult it is for the U.S. to keep track of the malware it uses on its adversaries.

There is now a debate within the intelligence community over whether the U.S. should continue to develop some of the most advanced cyberweapons in the world, if it is unable to protect them.

The Chinese hacking group that stole the NSA tools is considered to be among the most dangerous Chinese contractors the NSA tracks, having already been found responsible for numerous attacks on some of the most sensitive targets in the U.S.

From The New York Times
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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