IT&Software

Shadow Brokers release also suggest NSA spied on bank transactions

Shadow Brokers release also suggest NSA spied on bank transactions

When hacking group "Shadow Brokers" started leaking NSA-discovered exploits, many people were understandably anxious. The ones not listed ("EnglishmanDentist", "EsteemAudit", and "ExplodingCan") don't affect supported versions of the company's operating systems, such as Windows 7 and 10.

Hackers released documents and files Friday that cybersecurity experts said indicated the U.S. National Security Agency had accessed the SWIFT interbank messaging system, allowing it to monitor money flows among some Middle Eastern and Latin American banks.

"We mandate that all customers apply the security updates within specified times", SWIFT said in a statement. Microsoft didn't elaborate, and only said "Addressed prior to the release of Windows Vista".

North Korea is suspected of using SWIFT to target the Union Bank of India in an attempt to steal $170 million in July 2015, similar to the cyberheist of $81 million against the Blangladesh Bank.

Back in August the group released a bunch of hacking tools and on Friday it released another bunch of "really wonderful stuff" according to Nicholas Weaver, a computer security researcher at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley on the blog Lawfair. Unknown to members of the information security community all through the day, Microsoft (msft) had quietly patched the majority of the Windows flaws in a security update last month, preventing the NSA-crafted espionage tools from being abused by opportunistic attackers after their leak.

The NSA has previously shown interest in targeting SWIFT, according to documents leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

Such a hack could have enabled the U.S. to covertly monitor financial transactions, researchers said. However, SWIFT and EastNets told reporters that there has been no unauthorized access so far on its networks.

The documents posted by the Shadow Brokers include Excel files listing computers on a service bureau network, user names, passwords and other data, Suiche said.

EastNets had denied being hacked, telling WIRED there is "no credibility to the online claim of a compromise of EastNets customer information on its SWIFT service bureau".

The NSA did not immediately return emails seeking comment.

Matthew Hickey, founder of Hacker House whoo reproduced the hacks, said businesses who delay patches for operational purposes should make sure their software is up to date.

No one has yet discovered the identity of Shadow Brokers, or of the hackers that gained access to the NSA materials. The NSA is now facing criticism for not sharing details of the exploits with Microsoft once it became clear the tools were in the hands of a hacking group.

Microsoft's response comes hours after unnecessary fear from several security researchers, including one who advised Windows users to turn off their machines for the weekend.

The files appear to indicate that the NSA had infiltrated two of SWIFT's service bureaus, including EastNets, which provides technology services in the Middle East for the Belgium-based SWIFT and for individual financial institutions. "NSA did not warn Microsoft".


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