Originally published on June 19, 2017 on TechTarget. Alvaka’s COO and CISO, Kevin McDonald, examines the real-world damage caused by CIA and NSA data leaks, putting dangerous government cyberweapons in the hands of hackers.
WikiLeaks’ CIA data dump shook a lot of regular folks because it showed that the U.S. government can allegedly monitor not only social media, but inside cars, offices and homes through a variety of electronics. PCs; Macs; and iOS, Android and Windows phones are all potential targets. It revealed that internet of things devices, smart TVs, cameras, routers, switches and maybe even refrigerators are all vulnerable.
But this is not news, and it should be a matter of general knowledge by now. The specific techniques are coming to light, but no one should be surprised that the U.S. intelligence community had these hacking capabilities. Many think it’s great that this information has come out. I am not one of them.
The recent WannaCry ransomware attack is an example of the predictable damage to come from intelligence leaks. WannaCry leveraged a Microsoft Windows vulnerability and spread itself through the Server Message Block file-sharing protocol. Microsoft patched several of the zero-day vulnerabilities before the data was released by the Shadow Brokers. WannaCry provided a front-row view of what happens when organizations maintain and use zero-day vulnerabilities.
Why is WannaCry relevant to the NSA and CIA hacks? Because the vulnerability it leverages was attributed to the EternalBlue exploit released in a Shadow Brokers dump of alleged NSA exploits in May 2017.
The recent WannaCry ransomware attack is an example of the predictable damage to come from intelligence leaks.
This is just one example of what will likely be a tidal wave of advanced attacks as leaks continue from insider threats and outside hackers. I am confident that the NSA leaks and the massive amounts of CIA data released by WikiLeaks will impact American national security and global cybersecurity for some time…