Russians Stole NSA Cyber Weapons And Are Using Them Against Us, Report Shows

The National Security Agency suspects that Russian hackers are behind the biggest intelligence breach in modern history.

A 15-month ongoing investigation has found that the Kremlin is the prime suspect in the leak of various cyber weapons, along with the help of an unknown insider. The group in possession of the stolen NSA secrets, the Shadow Brokers, has so far wreaked havoc across the world.

“Created at huge expense to American taxpayers, those cyber weapons have now been picked up by hackers from North Korea to Russia and shot back at the United States and its allies,” the New York Times reported on Sunday.

The Shadow Brokers has so far infected millions of computer with ransomware, wiped the databases of multiple companies, and even impeded hospitals from admitting patients, the Times reported. Experts say that more of these attacks are “all but certain.”

RTS1JGHN U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin talk during a break in a session of the APEC summit in Danang, Vietnam November 11, 2017. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

“These leaks have been incredibly damaging to our intelligence and cyber capabilities,” Leon E. Panetta, the former defense secretary and director of the Central Intelligence Agency, told the Times. “The fundamental purpose of intelligence is to be able to effectively penetrate our adversaries in order to gather vital intelligence. By its very nature, that only works if secrecy is maintained and our codes are protected.”

So far, the NSA has not been able to find the person responsible for leaking the code from its headquarters. The investigation has taken a toll on employees at the agency who now have to face intense rounds of questioning.

“The agency is questioning people who have been 100 percent mission-oriented, telling them they’re liars,” an NSA employee told the Times.

Experts blame the agency for focusing too much on offensive capabilities and not enough on its cyberdefense.

The U.S. has been embroiled in a cyber rivalry with Russia since at least 2014 when American security researchers exposed Russian state-sponsored hacking groups. The Russians did not take the move lightly and began improving its cyber capabilities.

Since then, Russian hackers are suspected to have influenced last year’s presidential election by hacking into the Democratic Party’s national committee computers and releasing unfavorable emails from members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Russian hackers have also recently targeted companies and individuals outside of the United States, such as Ukrainian officers and Russian opposition figures.