A group of hackers has revealed espionage tools allegedly used by the US National Security Agency.
According to documents made available by Shadow Brokers, the organization of hackers that leaked information incriminating the NSA, the NSA entered into networks of computers and servers of financial institutions and the banking system known as SWIFT.
According to Shadow Brokers, the US agency was able to get into the computer system through a series of “failures” or open doors left by Microsoft Windows operating systems.
The filtration contains one of the largest collections of tools revealed so far as well as details as to how the NSA uses them for.
According to a Washington Post analysis, Shadow Brokers documents may further strain the relationship between the US government and technology companies, which peaked after Edward Snowden’s spilled over mass espionage performed by the American agency in 2013.
Shadow Brokers documentation notes that the NSA detected and used vulnerabilities in computer systems that use Windows products to infiltrate the SWIFT financial system, which operates under Belgian legislation.
This European service allows you to send transaction data between different banks and would have served the NSA as a bridge between financial operations in the West and the Middle East which were serviced by SWIFT.
EastNets, one of the providers whose services would have been compromised by the NSA, has denied that allegations made by hackers are true.
“We can confirm that our customers’ data is safe,” a company statement said last week.
The company adds that the images provided by the hackers correspond to internal servers taken offline in 2013.
The US agency that illegally spies on all communications under the excuse that it is fighting terrorism, would also have taken advantage of those same security holes in Windows to track information related to financial movements in banks in the Middle East, according to experts consulted by the France Presse.
The list of affected countries would include Kuwait, Dubai, Bahrain, Jordan, Yemen and Qatar.
“I think I’ve never seen so many infiltrations revealed in one go,” Hacker House security expert and co-founder Matthew Hickey told The Intercept.
Hickey adds that the relevance of the documents that have just come to light “cannot be overstated” because the same tools that the NSA used “right now can fall into the hands of anyone who wants to download them.”
Other experts say, however, that such methods are only effective as long as they can be used in secret, because companies such as Microsoft can fix security holes or, in the case of their customers, opt for other alternatives.
Microsoft says that it has not been contacted by the authorities in connection with computer infiltrations through its products.
The Snowden leak that revealed how the NSA had stored data from the communications of Americans and foreign leaders also revealed that the agency had collected data through the SWIFT system.
The NSA also acted in secret, not following the agreement reached with the European authorities, to track financial movements in the so-called fight against terrorism.