Edward Snowden Explains The Historic NSA Hack: "This Escalation Could Get Messy Fast"

Tyler Durden's picture

Yesterday we reported that in a historic first, an unknown group of hackers, the "Shadow Brokers" had hacked the NSA's cuberattack hacking division, "The Equation Group." Many were wondering what are the strategic implications of this dramatic escalation, which took place just as the US was accusing Russia of virtually every other recent prominent hacking, and whether it suggested something bigger was taking place behind the scenes.

Today, the most famous NSA (ex) employee, Edward Snowden, chimed in on this topic in a tweetstorm in which he tries to explain who did it:

Circumstantial evidence and conventional wisdom indicates Russian responsibility. I suspect this is more diplomacy than intelligence, related to the escalation around the DNC hack

... why they did it:

This leak is likely a warning that someone can prove US responsibility for any attacks that originated from this malware server.

... and the consequences:

That could have significant foreign policy consequences. Particularly if any of those operations targeted US allies. Particularly if any of those operations targeted elections. Accordingly, this may be an effort to influence the calculus of decision-makers wondering how sharply to respond to the DNC hacks.

and concludes as follows:

this leak looks like a somebody sending a message that an escalation in the attribution game could get messy fast.

In effect, Snowden suggest that Russia has either had enough of being accused for every hack in the US, or of being hacked itself, and is now retaliating. If he is correct, this is a far greater transgression by the Kremlin, and one which would absolutely necessitate a proportional US response to something which very well may have originated in Russia. The question is whether the administration, which has so far lobbed softballs as Putin for DNC hacks which may well have been done by 16 year old American hacker, will have the guts to retaliate to what is the first real act of global cyberagression.

Here is his full series of tweets on the topic (it can be found here in its original).

The hack of an NSA malware staging server is not unprecedented, but the publication of the take is. Here's what you need to know:

  • 1) NSA traces and targets malware C2 servers in a practice called Counter Computer Network Exploitation, or CCNE. So do our rivals.
  • 2) NSA is often lurking undetected for years on the C2 and ORBs (proxy hops) of state hackers. This is how we follow their operations.
  • 3) This is how we steal their rivals' hacking tools and reverse-engineer them to create "fingerprints" to help us detect them in the future.
  • 4) Here's where it gets interesting: the NSA is not made of magic. Our rivals do the same thing to us -- and occasionally succeed.
  • 5) Knowing this, NSA's hackers (TAO) are told not to leave their hack tools ("binaries") on the server after an op. But people get lazy.
  • 6) What's new? NSA malware staging servers getting hacked by a rival is not new. A rival publicly demonstrating they have done so is.
  • 7) Why did they do it? No one knows, but I suspect this is more diplomacy than intelligence, related to the escalation around the DNC hack.
  • 8) Circumstantial evidence and conventional wisdom indicates Russian responsibility. Here's why that is significant:
  • 9) This leak is likely a warning that someone can prove US responsibility for any attacks that originated from this malware server.
  • 10) That could have significant foreign policy consequences. Particularly if any of those operations targeted US allies.
  • 11) Particularly if any of those operations targeted elections.
  • 12) Accordingly, this may be an effort to influence the calculus of decision-makers wondering how sharply to respond to the DNC hacks.

A convenient summary:

13) TL;DR: This leak looks like a somebody sending a message that an escalation in the attribution game could get messy fast.

And a bonus take:

Bonus: When I came forward, NSA would have migrated offensive operations to new servers as a precaution - it's cheap and easy. So? So...

The undetected hacker squatting on this NSA server lost access in June 2013. Rare public data point on the positive results of the leak.

You're welcome, @NSAGov. Lots of love.

The ball is now in the NSA's court.

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Looney's picture

 

Next time Hillary “short-circuits”, she will accuse Russia of hacking her head.   ;-)

Looney

Winston Churchill's picture

Can't we just use an axe for that hacking ?

JamesBond's picture

My question is -  did this cyber attack occur at the NSA Utah Data Center?  

 

 

Here2Go's picture
Here2Go (not verified) JamesBond Aug 16, 2016 1:33 PM

Naw, that one was just a troop of Mormon Girl Scouts sellin' cookies...

847328_3527's picture

Anyone seen HH recently?

Keyser's picture

She's in Switzerland having a oil change and some much needed body work... Heh, it's kept Keith Richards alive all these years... 

Stainless Steel Rat's picture
Stainless Steel Rat (not verified) Keyser Aug 17, 2016 6:40 AM

Worst... TL;DR:... EVER...

SillySalesmanQuestion's picture

Vince Foster came back from the dead,
Said Bill and Hillary shot me in the head.
So he picked up an axe,
Proceeded to give Hillary forty whacks,
And for good measure, chopped off Bill's head.

More Ammo's picture

Which head?  He might miss the cyclops head more...

DownWithYogaPants's picture

Old One Eye

Winking, Blinking and sometimes spits

old naughty's picture

"The ball is now in the NSA's court. "  Really?

Ever wonder if it is simply putting out: "yes we can." ?

(Besides, "you" don't know what it can attribute next, no?)

molecool's picture

Yes, that would be called a brute force attack.

roddy6667's picture

Dat be a question brothers be axing.

BorisTheBlade's picture

She should, her firmware was written by Guccifer 1.0.

Doom Porn Star's picture

The android Clin-ton from 'Western World' is managed by which foreign corporation?

john milton's picture

yeah, she got infected from bill's joystick.. really nasty malware

Sledge750's picture

Should have used a hatchet instead of a computer.

neidermeyer's picture

Damnit ,,, I want a hack of something useful ,,, either DirecTV or Echostar access cards ...

StychoKiller's picture

How about a home delivery from Fort Knox?  Bwahahaha, I kill myself!

Offthebeach's picture

It's hard to exist in a alcholics brain.

doctor10's picture

somebody here in the USA is gonna have to think long and hard about whether or not they'll try to flip the November election to their candidate.

Pew Pew Pew's picture

I want to see the next wave of leaks to be attributable to a group that proclaims itself to be named "Not the Russians".

holgerdanske's picture

Not necessary, hacked already!

SWRichmond's picture

Not necessary, hacked already!

+1.  Everything is hacked already.  When WWIII starts, within about 90 seconds nothing will work.  Nothing.  No power, water, internet, phones, fuel pipelines...everything fucking stops.
Urban Roman's picture

Except in those parts of the world where they still use the old 'dumb' technology.

Where a switch is just a switch, a thermostat is just a thermostat, and if you want some water, you turn a faucet.

oncemore's picture

means 190 countries on the planet/ Those 20, who depend on datacenters, are morons.

DaveyJones's picture

evything fucking stops...except the Kardashians

RawPawg's picture

Define Fast

Fast Todayish?

Fast After the Elections?

Hurry Up,Already

Yuubokumin's picture

we gettin' there, my bro..... remember theez vampires act in such a way that you get bored, go for some drugs and forget to follow up.

as certain that we come down form a trip, this shit is comin' DOWN!

 

gmrpeabody's picture

Sounds like your trip might be permanent...

Sandmann's picture

Obama is a Russian agent because he simply could not be a US agent

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) Sandmann Aug 16, 2016 11:17 AM

Yup.  the same logic used by Red and Blue Team dumbasses when they encounter an opposing dumbasses.  If you're not with MY Team of dumbasses you must be on the OTHER Team of dumbasses.  

Hitlery_4_Dictator's picture

MORE GAY TRASH CLASS SEX FOR ALL. 

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) Hitlery_4_Dictator Aug 16, 2016 11:26 AM

I think you've got this wrong.  You gays are the privileged top 10%.   NOT the trash-class.  The trash-class uniformily hate you guys, that's one way to can identify members of the trash-class (that, and by the cars they drive and their tattoos).    

Come-on here, get with the lingo...

Hitlery_4_Dictator's picture

I consider gays the biggest trash class people on earth (besides you of course), they have material wealth (which means nothing in the end), no morals, the most disgusting diseases and infections known to man, they live for the world and are the most hateful and selfish people on the planet. 

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) Hitlery_4_Dictator Aug 16, 2016 11:52 AM

That's funny,  I think the same about all the REAL Mericans who voted Red Team their entire lives because of "those people", supported every war the US has ever started, believed the Weapons of Mass Delusion bullshit, supported the Patriot Act, and said (or say) Snowden is a traitor.

I guess you just have a different Morality OCD disorder tho.  It's sad that you converted to being gay and are now so self-loathing, tho.   

Maybe you should get some conversion therapy? 

Jtrillian's picture

Gays are not the problem fellas.  You are falling for "divide and conquer" tactics. 

The real enemy are the central bankers.  Their sexual preference does not matter.  What matters is what they are doing to create massive wealth inequality. 

Until we stop faling for these "divide and conquer" tactics, they win.  Don't  forget who the real enemy is. 

TahoeBilly2012's picture

They are way beyond wealth inequality, they flat out socially engineering a massive collapse a complete re-order. Like pull the pin and flock to Israel.

Withdrawn Sanction's picture

Keep going....who orchestrates the central banks?

StillSilence's picture

Not even sure it matters. At least not as much as whether or not people accept, use and save their currencies.

conscious being's picture

I appreciate the meaning you are conveying with your bold avatar.

Killdo's picture

most gays I know (a lot of them mostly in LA and from HBO TV) are not really interested in sex - gayness in America is more like a religion than anything to do with sexual preferences. 

A bunch of peopel bullied in school and very insecure, often self-hating. 

People often confuse gender identity disorders with the love of cock. 

Most gays I know don't even like sex - and if they do have sex it's mostly with strangers they never want to see again. In the UK I 've seen the same thing 

My neighbors in Venice Beach were gay - all they cared about was to be as loud as possible and to disturb as many neighbors at 4 am as possible by screaming like little girls and fucking strangers in their jacuzzi. Pretty much all of them are druggies and also on all kinds of anti depressants. 

There is nothing 'gay ' about them - the saddest fuckers (although the most manic) I have ever met. I've met a t least a 100 in LA and perhaps 10 in London. Very psycho -tollerant bunch (as long as psychos are good looking) - such is their psychological deffect (I guess from too much bullying) they woudl do anything for a good looking guy (no matter how manipulative or psychopathic - and there are lots of those)

They are obsessed with power  - that's why they all love $hitlery so much. Very few have any real friends. BUnch of freaks really. 

In Serbia on teh other hand - you can do whatever you want sexually and nobody gives a fuck as long as you keep it private- it's your own business (like religion in case you are religious). If you are gay and have a boyfriend (assuming you are not like my former neighbors I mentioned above) - people respect you for having balls and being different. 

My grandmother (was married twice and had 4 kids) had a girlfriend in 60s in Serbia and was a very well respected (and pretty) woman. Her GF looked like Elvis

oncemore's picture

Of course central bankers, because money is only at the first place. And the gays are the banksters' legion (one of many banksters' legions)  by the way, means gays have to be eliminated together with their masters. Could you agree on this with me?