The United States' intelligence agencies are meant to keep us safe from threats internal and external. But sometimes they have missed the mark and unintentionally put American citizens and businesses at greater risk. Whether this was through the development of cyber weapons that fell into the wrong hands or massive data leaks, it goes to show that no one's cybersecurity is perfect; even in the highest levels of the government.
But no matter who's to blame, cyberattack insurance from CyberPolicy can financially support your organization after sustaining a malicious cyberattack or crippling data breach. Don't go it alone, invest in cyberattack insurance today!
In 2013, former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden leaked classified information pertaining to the agency's warrantless mass surveillance of American citizens. This revelation incited a nation debate about the morality and efficacy of such a program, and whether privacy or security should be prioritized as a protection of American freedom.
However, research shows that domestic surveillance has "had no discernible impact" on preventing terrorist attacks; the NSA program has been used inappropriately by employees to spy on love interests, spouses and ex-lovers. Not exactly model behavior from an agency dedicated to protecting American cybersecurity.
In March 2017, WikiLeaks published "Vault 7," a trove of hacking tools allegedly stolen from the CIA. This document contained many eye-catching hacks including digital eavesdropping through Samsung smart TVs, compromising web routers and obtaining remote command of smart cars for possible assassination attempts.
Still, one of the most alarming revelations was the CIA's method of circumventing encrypted messengers. Encryption works to secure message transfers with secret keys which can only be deciphered by the intended recipient. As of yet, there is no way to read these encrypted messages without authorization, especially since the keys modify constantly to prevent incursion.
The CIA, however, found a way to read text messages before they are encrypted and sent, thereby eradicating the efficacy of such security features. If this falls into the wrong hands, hackers could likely read all messages and intercept all data transfers coming to and from businesses.
Employee Data Leaks
In early 2016, a hacker dumped the names, titles, email addresses and phone numbers of 9,000 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees, putting 20,000 FBI employees at risk of exposure as well. The hacker told Motherboard that he also stole military emails and credit card numbers, although this was never proven.
How'd he do it? The hacker was able to access the files thorough a compromised email account of a single Department of Justice employee.
This hack may not affect your business directly, but it does go to show that simple email scams can have big consequences; and not even the FBI is immune to such attacks. If you want to avoid a similar fate, train your employees to fend off suspicious emails, attachments, links and downloads whenever possible.
As you can see, intelligence agencies have a difficult job that tries to balance their own need for privacy against the need to infiltrate other actors' defenses. When things get out of hand, it's bad news for business.
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