Breach, Data Security, Security Strategy, Plan, Budget

Kaspersky may have helped U.S. catch alleged NSA data thief

After experiencing several allegations of shady ties to the Russian government, in a twist of events it turns out that Kaspersky Lab may have assisted the National Security Agency (NSA) in capturing an alleged data thief.

On Aug. 27, 2016, U.S. authorities arrested Harold T. Martin III  then indicted him in February 2017 on 20 counts of unauthorized and willful retention of national defense information, after a tip from the Moscow-based security firm led authorities to his doorstep, according to Politico.

Someone who U.S. authorities believe was Martin used an anonymous Twitter account to send five cryptic, private messages to two Kaspersky researchers on Aug. 13, 2016, just 30 minutes before the Shadow Brokers began dumping classified NSA tools online.

The messages asked the recipients to arrange a conversation with company CEO Eugene Kaspersky without giving a reason or topic and appeared to imply a sense of urgency suggesting the request or reason behind it would only be relevant for a limited amount of time.

The messages along with other clues obtained by the security firm linked the Twitter account to Martin and his work in the U.S. intelligence community leading researchers to believe he may have been involved in the NSA leak. Kaspersky researchers reported the incident to the NSA, which led to an investigation and Martin’s arrest.

While a Kaspersky spokeswoman declined to confirm the company’s involvement in the case, an anonymous source told Politico that Kaspersky gave the NSA all five Twitter messages sent and evidence of the sender’s real identity, which, according to court documents, was used to obtain warrants against Martin.

Martin is set to go to trial in June and each charge against him carries up to 10 years in prison.

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