Enlarge (credit: Mikhail Deynekin)
Last week, The Wall Street Journal dropped a bombshell when it reported that Russian government hackers located confidential National Security Agency material improperly stored on an employee’s home computer with help from Kaspersky antivirus, which happened to be installed. On Tuesday, The New York Times provided another shocker: the Russian hackers were caught in the act by spies from Israel, who were burrowed deep inside Kaspersky’s corporate network around the time of the theft.
Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab disclosed the intrusion into its network in mid 2015 in a detailed report that said some of the attack code shared digital fingerprints first found in the Stuxnet worm that sabotaged Iran’s nuclear program. When combined with other clues—including the attackers’ targeting of entities located in the US, which is off limits to the NSA—most analysts concluded that the 2014 hack was carried out by Israel. Kaspersky Lab researchers said at the time that the hackers appeared most interested in data the company had amassed on nation-sponsored hackers.
The NYT, citing unnamed people, said on Tuesday Israeli spies indeed carried out the attack. More revealing still, the report said that during the course of the hack, the spies watched in real time as Russian government hackers turned Kaspersky antivirus software used by 400 million people worldwide into an improvised search tool that scoured computers for code names of US intelligence programs.

The NYT likened to a “sort of Google search for sensitive information.” The Israeli spies, in turn reported their findings to their counterparts in the US.
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