Last year there was a serious hacking of the NSA by the Shadow Brokers group, in which they stole important tools that the NSA used to hack. These, apparently, were forgotten in a server where an NSA operative had worked, ending up in the hands of the public a few months later. One of those tools gave rise to WannaCry, a ransomware that sowed chaos in the middle of the year.
Another serious oversight of the NSA: an open server without a password
Now, the NSA has again been hacked by another serious oversight. The company was left on an Amazon Web Services server a virtual disk (a backup of a system) dated May 2013, which contained just over 100 GB of data from a cybernetic computer with the code name ” Red Disk “. The operating system used in that virtual disk is a Linux distribution, but when you try to install it, it does not start because it probably depends on computers and servers available only within the Pentagon.
The server, although it was not listed, did not have a password, so anyone with the address could access it. This subdomain had the name of “INSCOM”, an abbreviation of US Army Intelligence and Security Command. It was Chris Vickery, director of cyber risk at Upguard, who discovered this server in late September, alerting the government in October.
The third leak of confidential information from the NSA
This type of leaks in Amazon servers have also happened to the Pentagon, Verizon or the Dow Jones. However, those of the NSA are the most dangerous because they include harmful tools that seek to hack and attack targets. This is the third major leak of the NSA, after that of Snowden in 2013 and that of Shadow Brokers in 2016.
The files of this filtration are classified as NOFORN (No Foreign Nationals), referring to information so sensitive that the United States does not share it with foreign allied countries. In total, 47 visible files form the data, three of which could be downloaded and showed national security data. The rest of the files could not be downloaded because it was necessary to be inside a Pentagon network to do it.
Among the information present in those files, it was found:
Virtual hard disk with classified communications information at military and state level
Details about the DCGS-A defense platform
Information from Red-Disk, a cloud-based intelligence system to allow soldiers in the field to send classified reports, drone recordings, satellite images, etc. Its cost was 93 million dollars, and the project failed because it was slow, difficult to use, and full of crashes.
Private keys of Invertix, a company that works with INSCOM.