We’ve known for a while, thanks to the Snowden leaks and the ensuing investigations, that the NSA has both broad authority to breach and investigate the communications of innocent Americans and the tools to get into your private business with ease. It’s been an ugly chapter in American history, and it’s about to get a lot uglier with the news that the NSA has been hacked, and all its spying tools might soon be online for anybody to use.
What Is The Equation Group?
It starts with a shadowy collection of expert hackers called The Equation Group. Active for at least fourteen years, and quite possibly much longer, the Equation Group was recently uncovered by Kaspersky Labs and has never explicitly been tied to the NSA. The connections that have been found, however, are worrying.
Perhaps most notably, Kaspersky notes that there are a few important similarities between the software the Equation Group uses and Stuxnet, generally considered the first real cyberweapon, and used on Iran to destroy their nuclear capability. Officially, nobody knows who, precisely, created Stuxnet, but unofficially it’s agreed that it likely came from American and Israeli military interests, and there’s other software the group uses that comes straight from the NSA.
In other words, there are a lot of incredibly invasive software tools out there that can easily be used on private citizens as well as government. And somebody may have just stolen them.