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Snowden Speculates Leak of NSA Spying Tools Is Tied To Russian DNC Hack (arstechnica.com) 133

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Two former employees of the National Security Agency -- including exiled whistleblower Edward Snowden -- are speculating that Monday's leak of what are now confirmed to be advanced hacking tools belonging to the U.S. government is connected to the separate high-profile hacks and subsequent leaks of two Democratic groups. Private security firms brought in to investigate the breach of the Democratic National Committee and a separate hack of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have said that the software left behind implicates hackers tied to the Russian government. U.S. intelligence officials have privately said they, too, have high confidence of Russian government involvement. Both Snowden and Dave Aitel, an offensive security expert who spent six years as an NSA security scientist, are speculating that Monday's leak by a group calling itself Shadow Brokers is in response to growing tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the hacks on the Democratic groups. As this post was being prepared, researchers with Kaspersky Lab confirmed that the tools belong to Equation Group, one of the most sophisticated hacking groups they've ever investigated. "Why did they do it?" Snowden wrote in a series of tweets early Tuesday morning. "No one knows, but I suspect this is more diplomacy than intelligence, related to the escalation around the DNC hack." In a brief post of his own, Aitel agreed that Russia is the most likely suspect behind both the Democratic hacks and the leaking of the NSA spying tools. He also said the NSA data was likely obtained by someone with physical access to an NSA secure area who managed to walk out with a USB stick loaded with secrets.
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Snowden Speculates Leak of NSA Spying Tools Is Tied To Russian DNC Hack

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  • Ok (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2016 @06:12PM (#52716333)

    K, thanks for the speculation.

    • Re:Ok (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 16, 2016 @06:28PM (#52716457)

      You want speculation. It's speculated that Hillary had sex with Satan himself and gave birth to Trump via c-section performed by aliens.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Why is no one talking about this?

        • Re:Ok (Score:5, Funny)

          by Grog6 ( 85859 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2016 @08:35PM (#52716995)

          It's being hushed up by the Trump-Alien-Russian-Clinton Conspiracy''s Tight grasp on the Media's Scrotum(s).

          Their collective polygrip is just too strong.

          Inform your congresscritter, go door to door if you have to; this evil conspiracy must be exposed!!!

          I'm voting the safe vote; Opus and Bill. No, not the blue dress bill.

          • Opus and Bill

            Alas, I think that one's a bit old even for most of the people who hang around here. Just haven't gotten into the new version as much. Like Calvin and Hobbes or To Kill a Mockingbird, sometimes you just produce perfection, once, and stop.

          • Polygrip? Genious!

            Just ran out of points or you would get some funny.

      • By aliens, you say? No wonder he wants Mexico to pay.

      • You want speculation. It's speculated that Hillary had sex with Satan himself and gave birth to Trump via c-section performed by aliens.

        Why does this make so much more sense than either Hillary or Trump?

      • Damn I miss the Weekly World News.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I think it's clear that the West's thinking that Russia (and others) are less advanced as they are in computer-technology (as I dislike the wording of 'cyber'), is offset by reality by quite a bit. Reality, it seems, is that Russia is a peer at it. China is, surely, too. Popular politicians and their methods of communications are decennia behind the capabilities of even simple computercriminals. We have to wait for leaks to open up the mistakes of non-popular power-yielding individuals. But surely this will

    • What a surprise, since we've been outsourcing our software engineering work to both those nations.
  • I don't see much media coverage about the NSA hacking tools being put for sale. If they really belong to TAO, this is probably the most advanced and dangerous hack in history. It's like if somebody penetrated into the cyber equivalent of Area 51, and stole the cyber equivalent of a flying saucer! Basically now every NSA attack will be easily fingerprinted and blocked. I'm afraid people aren't exactly realizing how bad it is for the US government cyberoffensive capabilities: they've been basically wiped out.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      The material walked out with a real human. It was then given to the press. More of a US Watergate informant talking to the press about their day job than any real hacking.
      The US cover story sold to the press is that super smart nations got into the US political party computers, stayed in over some time totally undetected, got the data out in bulk and just left a huge amount of logs showing their tool sets and real ip ranges.
      Smart enough to get in, stay but no skills in covering their origins or method..
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I don't see him saying that. But thanks for inserting that narrative.

  • Weird that my draft committed suicide as I attempted to reply... Reminds me of http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... [huffingtonpost.com] in some ways...

    Anyway, the introduction to my comment is that I don't like or dislike Hillary, but she is clearly well qualified to be president and the Donald is clearly fundamentally not qualified. The HuffPo piece is just one more angle on why not.

    Therefore I believe that a Trump victory would be quite similar to a decapitation strike. Insofar as America has real enemies including Putin and Da

    • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2016 @07:37PM (#52716771) Homepage Journal

      Weird that my draft committed suicide as I attempted to reply... Reminds me of http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... [huffingtonpost.com] in some ways...

      Anyway, the introduction to my comment is that I don't like or dislike Hillary, but she is clearly well qualified to be president and the Donald is clearly fundamentally not qualified. The HuffPo piece is just one more angle on why not.

      Therefore I believe that a Trump victory would be quite similar to a decapitation strike. Insofar as America has real enemies including Putin and Daesh, they would obviously be motivated to do anything they can to help Trump win. Hacking the DNC is one angle, but I'm more concerned about a major terrorist strike timed just before the election. America's enemies may be crazy, but they aren't stupid.

      Cue the crazy trolls. Actually, I'm not convinced all of Trump's trolls are crazy. Even the ones that seem to be sincere might be faking it, like Trump himself. Actually makes more sense to me that some of them are paid to fake it (perhaps by Putin and his fiends). (Apologies to Rocky and Bullwinkle, eh?)

      Right before posting, I always <ctrl>-A/<ctrl>-C to grab a copy of the text. That way if the system hiccups, I can open a local text file and save the text while I straighten things out. Has saved my bacon bunch of times.

      On your point about Hillary being qualified, and not trying to provoke an emotional response, I took the trouble to research Hillary's decisions and accomplishments over the last 16 years.

      And came up empty.

      There's not a single moment that I could find, no decision or action or award, that Hillary can point to with pride and say "I did this!". The best I can come up with is that she was elected as senator.

      Since you think she's qualified, can you help me out by justifying that a bit? I mean... is there *anything* you can point to that forms the basis of your opinion?

      I don't mean "she's not Trump", either. I could just as well vote for the Green or Libertarian candidate, and they're also not Trump.

      What has she actually *done* that merits your support?

      (Note that I'm trying not to be trollish, and I haven't thrown any insults. Please keep that in mind when responding.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by shanen ( 462549 )

        Sorry, but you are posting in a profoundly ignorant way, or you are completely distorting the meaning of "decisions", "accomplishments", and "empty". True, I haven't always agreed with the things that Hillary has done, but mostly I have agreed with her objectives and been saddened in those cases when she was prevented from succeeding. One obvious example would have been healthcare reform back in the 90s, when she didn't even have a real job. However, her greatest and most obvious accomplishment was cleaning

        • However, her greatest and most obvious accomplishment was cleaning up a small part of the international mess left behind by Dubya and the big dick Cheney.

          That's a bit vague, isn't it? What actual tangible acts and outcomes are you referring to?

          • I'm not interested in your desperate and feeble attempts to change the subject. Answer the question:

            Why do you want to elect Trump and effectively decapitate America?

            • See, this isn't particularly difficult if you're being even vaguely intellectually honest. The very premise of your inflammatory question is false, and it's up to you to show otherwise. To wit:

              she is clearly well qualified to be president and the Donald is clearly fundamentally not qualified

              To which multiple people very politely asked, "how is she clearly well qualified?"

              And to which you first replied with vacuous rhetoric, then, when that was pointed out, simply pounded the table.

              It's clear that you can offer no objective, measurable data points to justify why Hillary is even vaguely qualified, much l

              • by shanen ( 462549 )

                Quit your Sophism. We already know you have no positive defense of Donald, but changing the subject is NOT going to work if America has been decapitated.

                However, I predict there are lots of other questions you can't deal with. For example "Who do you hate most?"

                That's the defining characteristic of Trump supporters, but the ones who are smart enough to use computers have apparently learned not to address that one. It was kind of funny in the period when they would try to defend their various hatreds. They m

                • Hate? Nah. But I do tend to feel pity for people with such reduced capacity that they (a) can't or don't know how to make a cogent argument and thus just mindlessly cheer for "their team," and (b) dissolve into incomprehensible, name-calling rants when asked a basic question about their mindless cheering.

                  Just to put the rattle back on the high chair one last time:
                  1. I said nothing whatsoever about Trump.
                  2. You said something about Hillary.

                  • by shanen ( 462549 )

                    What is to be said about someone who starts his campaign by declaring all Mexicans are rapists--and goes downhill from there?

                    What is to be said to someone who thinks Hillary Clinton has accomplished nothing?

                    (It is certainly possible to disagree about the value of some of her accomplishments, though the main thing I don't like about her is that she's just another lawyer. I don't dislike it either because that's just the way the game is rigged these years.)

                    Yeah, there are certainly some trolls around here.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Is this "is why qualified" thing some kind of joke? I mean, compared to Trump, a guy who has to go back on something he said pretty much every day...

        One of the most important qualifications for the role of President of the US is to not put your foot in it at every opportunity and end up apologising to other countries or alienating them. Trump will end up the same as Boris Johnson, where other states don't take anything he says seriously because he has a reputation for retracting or just lying and standing b

      • Just one (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ThatsNotPudding ( 1045640 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2016 @07:49AM (#52718513)
        Only one thing she *could* accomplish: saving the Supreme Court from being packed with right-wing, misogynist (but I repeat myself) psychos that by comparison would even make Scalia look like an actual jurist instead of the corrupt partisan hack that he was.

        Then again, I don't think a GOP-controlled Senate will ever again let any Democratic president appoint another judge at any level, let alone a Supreme. That is their most effective way of delaying (denying) true social progress in the USA - especially the overturning of Citizens United (the Dred Scott of the modern era).
      • When we do the reboot of the US let this election show that one ballot option always needs to be "None of the above" and force another vote with new options.
    • by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2016 @08:29PM (#52716961) Journal

      Actually makes more sense to me that some of them are paid to fake it (perhaps by Putin and his fiends).

      But Hillary actually is paying people to pretend to support her online. Look up "Correct the Record."

    • by shanen ( 462549 )

      No, my OP was not a troll post, just an observation, but from the troll responses, a question does occur to me. Kind of an indirect effect of the Trump trolls trying to change the topic away from Trump's incompetence, and even though I know that wasn't their intention.

      Given Trump's track record, he certainly could have learned from his many mistakes (such as his six bankruptcies), but as far as I can recall, he never admits to a mistake and never apologizes. Can't learn by blaming other people for your mist

  • Why would you want the US/NSA to know that you've compromised them? That's stupid. It's more likely that the NSA is selling its own fingerprinted tools as an opportunity...or someone taking advantage of the current climate to take some suckers for a ride.

  • by WoodstockJeff ( 568111 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2016 @06:57PM (#52716621) Homepage

    ... they got copies of hacking tools used by the NSA. Are the two related?

    If so, why did the DNC have NSA hacking tools?

    If not, what is the reason for tying the stories together?

    • by ichthus ( 72442 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2016 @07:19PM (#52716723) Homepage
      Not only that, but neither one of these hacks have been confirmed to have originated from Russia. Last I read, the NSA hackers were American, and Julian Assange implied that the DNC hack was just a simple inside job. Seems like a forced (and potentially false) narrative is being pushed.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's like the cold war again, anything stinks blame the commies. Just never mention the fascists boring holes through one end of the constitution and out the other.

      • Re: (Score:5, Insightful)

        by srichard25 ( 221590 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2016 @08:27PM (#52716951)

        The hacked emails show that the media colluded with the Hillary campaign to shut Bernie out. That story lasted less than 1 day before those same media entities changed the story to focus on the Russian hacker speculation, which was then followed by several days of talking about how Trump supposedly asked Russia to hack the DNC.

        Look -> Squirrel.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Look -> Squirrel.

          What?

          Where?

          Where did it go?

      • by gcswt ( 4309907 )
        It seems to me to be a political play to publicly play the Russia card. I really doubt these professional hackers would hack ONE political candidate for President. They all would be ripe targets and arguably, Clinton would be the most difficult - tho most prized. I really think Russia is a red herring as well, especially with how much is "leaking" out into the news.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      One of the criticisms of the NSA creating these tools was that they were bound to leak eventually. Like Struxnet where eventually others got hold of it and adapted it for their own purposes, to use against the US.

      On top of that, we know that the NSA is leaky. Snowden proves it. And no organization is unhackable. So if forensic analysis of this malware shows that it uses stolen NSA tech, it would be quite significant.

      But yeah, it's a bit early to speculate.

  • What? "Exile" isn't even a thing (any more).

    He's "Avoiding prosecution Edward Snowden." In the days when exile was a thing, it was a punishment. Just like jail, or death, or a fine. You know, the sort of thing that comes after a trial. He's not an exile, he's a fugitive.
    • "Exiled" can also simply mean, "No longer living in one's homeland and disinclined to go back." It's not necessarily a thing that is done *to* someone.

      • "Exiled" can also simply mean, "No longer living in one's homeland and disinclined to go back." It's not necessarily a thing that is done *to* someone.

        Usually such a person would be referred to as an "expatriot." The connotations are very different.

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
      Turns out the definition of 'exiile' isn't down to you. Weird, but apparently true.
  • ADD? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sshir ( 623215 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2016 @07:44PM (#52716797)
    Slashdot is getting ADD.

    Go, read entire series of Snowden's twits on the subject. The whole point is: this disclosure is a warning shot. Imagine if the rest of the files will reveal targets, personally identifiable info on perpetrators, provable attribution etc. God forbid malware targets are in NATO countries or some such. This thing might explode into a serious international scandal.

    Russians are mentioned simply because they might have better motives for pulling this off (with some tit-for-tat hacking going on right now). But that's beside the point.
  • by Joseph Doeden ( 4653933 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2016 @08:07PM (#52716895)
    Who writes articles like this? Why would Snowden be making such statements. What did he mean when they say "NSA data was likely obtained by someone with physical access to an NSA secure area who managed to walk out with a USB stick loaded with secrets." "calling itself Shadow Brokers is in response to growing tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the hacks on the Democratic groups" It reads like propaganda to me. I don't believe Snowden is in Russia and also still a reliable source of information, especially on matters to do with Russia... a nation with the potential to take over the media and even explode journalists. You can believe what you like about Snowden and the NSA, but trusting the info stream from Snowden inside of Russia is stupid.
    • I don't believe Snowden is in Russia

      I do. There aren't really a lot of places he could be and be protected from being killed or forcibly brought back to stand trial in the USA. Given that both his father and girlfriend have both been seen getting on flights to Moscow to visit him, you seem to be suggesting a highly unlikely scenario here.

      and also still a reliable source of information, especially on matters to do with Russia... a nation with the potential to take over the media and even explode journalists. You can believe what you like about Snowden and the NSA, but trusting the info stream from Snowden inside of Russia is stupid.

      Now you are dead on the money with this comment, but I got branded a troll here the last time I made a post suggesting something negative about Snowden. We'll see how yours does.

  • Does anyone believe that Russia doesn't hack US systems? Or the reverse? This story might be slightly interesting if it revealed some specific hack that broke new ground. It might be interesting if it had a devastating effect upon US intelligence operations. It might be compelling if we could prove a direct connection to Mr. Putin. And those things may come to pass but they haven't been observed yet.

    So slashdotters are left to speculate, to opine about what may become of this. Thus we may be among the first

    • by gcswt ( 4309907 )
      If Putin was somehow pulling for Trump to win, he's not doing much to do that. If anything is alarming about this is how much "information" is being released on a possible hostile act by another major nation without the major players involved squashing rumors or speculation. It's not exactly a prime example of secret keeping nor investigative professionalism.
      • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
        Of course Putin wants Trump to win. All enemies of the west and the USA want Trump to win. He would be an unmitigated disaster.
  • Doesn't that make him an ungrateful pr*ck to call them out for dirty shenanigans?
    • by gcswt ( 4309907 )
      Why? Russia would want the world to know that nobody's information is safe from them. Even if they weren't involved in this attack at all, there is utility in the rest of the world believing they were. There is a lot of power in having your adversaries think you are capable of something even if you really aren't.
  • Ban USB - in fact lets's ban Serial - or Busses - yea that'll fix it.
  • by Max_W ( 812974 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2016 @03:25AM (#52718095)
    Were some abracadabra Cyrillic-looking characters left behind? But it is not only Russian language which uses non-Latin alphabet.
  • It would be easier to get the tools off of a honeypot that was set up to entice the use of the tools rather than to get them by hacking the Equation Group. If you want the Equation Group's tools all you have to do is convince them that they have found a chink in the armor of a high value target. Let them own a computer (referred to as the pivot in the hacking world) that seems to have access to further hardened targets. The tools will start appearing. A Potemkin honeypot.
  • by Rujiel ( 1632063 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2016 @12:12PM (#52719841)
    Dave Aitel DID NOT SAY the DNC hack was the Russians. He said THIS hack was the Russians. Snowden similarly did not say the DNC hack was the Russians, he said THIS hack was, and that it was related to the eacalation after the DNC hack--that is, accusations toward Russia afterwards. There is zero evidence that the DNC hack was rhe Russians, nor that it was even so sophistocated as to require a state actor.
    • Nope. There's evidence that the DNC hack had Russian involvement. It isn't conclusive, but we may never get conclusive evidence on this. I don't think there's actual evidence of Russian state involvement, although it seems like reasonable speculation to me.

      • by Rujiel ( 1632063 )
        Link me, then. And i was correct that neither Snowden nor Aitel have blamed Russia for the DNC leaks.

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