TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - In a Saturday report, the US-based New York Times daily explained how the NSA's Tailored Access Operations lost control of its so-called ‘EternalBlue’ malware tool to a cadre of hackers, referred to as the Shadow Brokers, which subsequently publicized the agency's software exploits on the internet and passed them on to hackers allegedly linked with Russia, China, and North Korea.
The report pointed out that the Shadow Brokers' disclosure came thanks to a 54-year-old former NSA contractor Harold Martin III, who pleaded guilty in March 2019 for, among other things, taking classified documents and electronic devices home with him for more than 20 years in what government authorities described as the biggest leak of classified data in US history.
The report came amid an ongoing cyber attack on the city of Baltimore, which is paralyzing its critical infrastructure and halting daily important transactions from home sales to utility payments.
According to the daily, for the past three weeks, “Baltimore has struggled with a cyberattack by digital extortionists that has frozen thousands of computers, shut down email and disrupted real estate sales, water bills, health alerts and many other services.”
The cyber weapon, it added, “has left a path of destruction around the world, leaving billions of dollars in damage.”
“Cybercriminals are zeroing in on vulnerable American towns and cities, from Pennsylvania to Texas, paralyzing local governments and driving up costs.”
The NSA has been collecting phone calls, texts and emails of the American people as well as those of other nationals.
In 2013, former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked classified intelligence documents showing massive collections of phone records of Americans and foreign nationals as well as political leaders around the world.