A statement by the ‘Shadow Brokers’ hacking collective, claiming they have hacked an NSA affiliate and obtained a set of US government spying and surveillance tools, coincided with the NSA official website going offline for many hours.
The website of the US National Security Agency (NSA) went offline at about 10:54pm Monday and remained inaccessible for almost a full day, until about 5pm Tuesday, reports Politico.
All links to the NSA homepage, including the main page, led to a ‘Service Unavailable’ error window for some 18 hours. The ‘What’s New’ section remained the only operable page, probably because it is hosted on a separate server.
Politico quoted an unnamed FedScoop source, claiming that the outage was made by the NSA itself, maintaining an “internal review” of its online presence.
The NSA website went out several hours after Shadow Brokers boasted of having hacked the Equation Group, an alleged NSA affiliate reportedly responsible for long-lasting subversive activities over the web.
No connection between these two events has been established so far.
The spokesmen of the NSA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Defense, all refused to elaborate on the issue of the NSA website outage, Politico reports.
The alleged “NSA cyber weapon” going on sale has caused quite a stir.
Information re-emerged about the Equation Group, that this collection of hackers has previously been accused by Russian company Kaspersky Lab of using techniques and tools very similar to those of the NSA. In 2015 Kaspersky Lab called the group “a threat actor that surpasses anything known in terms of complexity and sophistication of techniques, and that has been active for almost two decades.”
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden commented on the Equation Group hack, saying that “NSA malware staging servers getting hacked by a rival is not new. A rival publicly demonstrating they have done so is,” the whistleblower wrote, adding, “I suspect this is more diplomacy than intelligence, related to the escalation around the DNC hack.”