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Vietnam-Born Worker in U.S Intelligence Ordered Prison over Data Theft and Leakage

 

Nghia Hoang Pho, who has been with the premium hacking unit Tailored Access Operations of National Security Agency for ten years, admitted committing one instance of deliberately retaining classified data on national defense during December 2017.

 

Vietnam-born Pho, aged 68, was ordered for serving prison for 66 months September 25 this year on charges he exposed highly confidential online documents. As per discovery by U.S officials, Pho during 2010-15 had carried plentiful TAO materials to his home. These materials contained data and software which ultimately Russian intelligence got unto their custody.

 

Pho stored the stolen materials on a Kaspersky anti-virus protected PC he kept at his residence.

 

The officials are confident that intelligence agencies of Russia managed towards accessing Pho's PC via Kaspersky. Incidentally Kaspersky's anti-virus would function only on receipt of blanket permission from the PC owner for allowing access of the device. That way the AV program then informed its scan results to the Moscow based Kaspersky.

 

During 2017, the Wall Street Journal posted news that when Pho's PC penetrated in 2015 it resulted in the Russians attaining knowledge about NSA's own methods of invading overseas PC networks as well as protection of itself against online hacks.

 

Afterwards Kaspersky itself substantiated about its anti-virus program which during 2014 by default detected dubious files and also downloaded them onto Pho's PC which seemingly consisted of source code and data pertaining to the alleged hacking software called Equation Group from U.S' National Security Agency. Following examination of those files by Kaspersky experts, they were deleted, said the security firm. Kaspersky overrules it facilitated possession of those files to Russian intelligence.

 

The data exposure meant extremely destructive for NSA a spy agency of utmost importance for the U.S government, while it considerably halted its own espionage operations on foreign targets.

 

Robert Hur, U.S Attorney said Pho's actions weakened the country's very secretive intelligence while compelled NSA towards abandoning vital protection measures of itself as well as its operational abilities.

 

The incident prompted the United States government to prohibit use of Kaspersky AV programs on government PCs, while accused the firm of maintaining ties with Russian intelligence agencies.

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