NSA penetrated SWIFT banking network in Middle East: Hackers

NSA penetrated SWIFT banking network in Middle East: Hackers”

When hacking group "Shadow Brokers" started leaking NSA-discovered exploits, many people were understandably anxious.

Shadow Brokers first surfaced previous year offering for sale a suite of hacking tools from the NSA.

On Friday, a group released documents and files indicating NSA had accessed the SWIFT money-transfer system.

Microsoft says all of the security flaws exposed in Friday's leak of National Security Agency (NSA) hacking tools were already fixed in supported versions of its software.

Some of the Windows vulnerabilities that were enabling the exploits seemed quite serious, such as remote code execution bugs.

He added that NSA "completely hacked" EastNets, one of two SWIFT service bureaus named in the documents that were released by the Shadow Brokers.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Microsoft's response to the leaks comes several hours after Shadow Brokers' dumped a treasure trove of alleged NSA-leaked data on the interwebs. This would normally mean either that Microsoft somehow found (or purchased) all the vulnerabilities The Shadow Brokers were auctioning off, or perhaps that someone anonymously alerted Microsoft about the bugs.

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The SWIFT messaging system, which is headquartered in Belgium, is used by banks to transfer trillions of dollars each day.

While home and small business users, who generally patch as soon as possible, may be protected against these exploits, bigger businesses generally take a while to patch because they have extensive testing to be done, and may still be vulnerable.

Researchers who spent Friday sifting through TheShadowBrokers' code previously said that the tools exploited undisclosed vulnerabilities, a potentially serious development that anxious the security community.

Security researcher Mustafa Al-Bassam tweeted that the NSA hacked EastNets "inside out".

Files released by "Shadow Brokers" also suggest the NSA exploited weaknesses in Microsoft Windows products. Microsoft mysteriously delayed its Patch Tuesday release in February by a month in an unprecedented move, blaming a "last minute issue". SWIFT stated that there was no indication that their main network had been accessed by unauthorized users.

But three exploits - going by the names EnglishmanDentist, EsteemAudit, and ExplodingCan - were not reproducible in supported products, Misner said.

Microsoft declined to say how it learned of the exploits without outside help. Suiche noted EasyNets ran Window Server 2008 R2 which could be exploited with the FUZZBUNCH hacking tools framework.

"There is no impact on SWIFT's infrastructure or data, however we understand that communications between these service bureaus and their customers may previously have been accessed by unauthorized third parties". In a statement to Reuters, the company spokesperson said, "Other than reporters, no individual or organization has contacted us in relation to the materials released by Shadow Brokers".

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