Guest: William Binney, retired N.S.A. Technical Leader for intelligence
This weeks show: The computer ransomware attack on May 12 that hit over 50,000 computers across dozens of countries, England’s hospitals, FedEx in the U.S., banks and telecoms in Spain, and a Russian ministry used hacking exploits that researchers believe were developed by the U.S. National Security Agency. The attack is demonstrating what happens when intelligence agencies can’t keep their own computer weapons locked down.
This attack exploits a weakness in Microsoft Windows revealed by the Shadow Brokers hacker entity in 2016 that experts believe originated in the NSA-linked Equation Group methods of exploiting computer software vulnerabilities. The exploit named EternalBlue is among dozens revealed by the Shadow Brokers in April.
Although this infection’s spread is mostly over, the young British researcher known as MalwareTech, whose quick thinking stopped the Wanna Decryptor virus on Saturday, said this same exploit could be unleashed again with a very simple change to its code.
In March the multinational Cisco systems had to learn from Wikileaks that its Internet switches had been hacked by the CIA to allow eavesdropping. Cisco’s engineers had to rush to understand, repair and protect their customers’ gear against the exploits the CIA had known about for over a year so that criminals and spies couldn’t use the same methods.
About 90% of government spending on cyber programs is for offensively penetrating, disabling and eavesdropping on targeted computers and communications. Comparatively little is spent on protecting consumers, businesses and even the rest of the government from cyber attacks, hacks, economic espionage or holding data for ransom.
Interview with retired NSA Technical Leader for intelligence William Binney, previously the NSA’s technical director of military geopolitical analysis and reporting. He worked in both the operations and analysis sides of intelligence, and was a Russia specialist.
Credits: Radio interview by John Grebe, first aired live on WZBC 90.3 FM Boston on May 13, 2017.
The weekly news interview program has aired since 1998 on WZBC 90.3 FM in Greater Boston. Catch us every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern Time. Live streams linked from wzbc.org . Selected interviews archived at http://www.SoundsOfDissent.org