New leak suggests NSA penetrated Mideast banking networks

Posted April 16, 2017

Hundreds of megabytes worth of sophisticated hacking tools purportedly stolen from the National Security Agency became publicly available Friday, triggering security experts across the globe to sound alarms as the USA government's weaponized software exploits seemingly entered the wild.

"They may have been used to target a global banking system".

Suiche told SearchSecurity that "technically speaking they had full control of the SWIFT Service Bureau (EastNets) environment", but it is unclear why, although Suiche said one script found in the release would allow the attacker to read all SWIFT banking transactions.

The Shadow Brokers, an unidentified group or persons, has hacked the NSA for the past eight months and have leaked a gigabyte of NSA data.

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden even chimed in on the claims that EastNet weren't compromised, with the official Twitter page to EastNet responding to the situation tweeting "No credibility to the online claim of a compromise of EastNets customer information on its SWIFT service bureau".

Quoting its CEO and founder Hazem Mulhim, EastNets added: "While we cannot ascertain the information that has been published, we can confirm that no EastNets customer data has been compromised in anyway". Given Redmond's increasingly secretive approach to patching, we hope they'll be more open about upcoming updates to address the NSA-exploited security holes.

It was possible that the local messaging systems of some SWIFT client banks had been breached, SWIFT said in a statement, which did not specifically mention the NSA.

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Past year hackers stole $81 billion United States dollars from the Bangladesh central bank, which utilizes the SWIFT messaging system.

"The tools and exploits released today have been specifically created to target earlier versions of Windows operating system", said security specialist Pierluigi Paganini on the Security Affairs website. No, they're not. Shadow Brokers said in a blog post that this leak won't be their last, saying "Maybe if all suviving WWIII theshadowbrokers be seeing you next week". Belgium-based SWIFT said Friday that it had no evidence that the main SWIFT network had been accessed.

The newly leaked set of documents were published by a group calling itself TheShadowBrokers.

The NSA targeted nine computer servers at a SWIFT contractor, Dubai-based service bureau EastNets, according to the documents.

Experts believe that the blowback of the Shadow Brokers' latest release will likely leave the intelligence community reeling for quite a while. In a statement, the tech giant said it had not been contacted by the NSA about the breach.

Coverage for the exploits and tools disclosed by the Shadow Brokers is available through Cisco's security products, services, and open source technologies. This is not the first time the Shadow Brokers have targeted the NSA.

The newly leaked NSA files suggest that the agency may have hacked into SWIFT's network via service bureaus, which are firms that provide smaller clients with access points to the SWIFT system. It contains exploits for vulnerabilities - including at least four zero-day flaws for which no security patches yet exist - that can be used to hack into at-risk Windows systems, from Windows 2000 to Windows 8 and Server 2012. The releases are published with unusual and misspelled blog posts, and recent posts have been critical of the Trump administration.