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CIA Co-Developed 'Athena' Windows Malware With US Cyber Security Company, WikiLeaks Reveals (bleepingcomputer.com) 108

An anonymous reader writes: Today, WikiLeaks leaked documentation about a tool called Athena. According to leaked documents, which WikiLeaks previously claimed it received from hackers and CIA insiders, Athena is an implant -- a CIA technical term for "malware" -- that can target and infect any Windows system, from Windows XP to Windows 10, Microsoft's latest OS version. Documents leaked today are dated between September 2015 and February 2016, showing that the CIA had the ability to hack Windows 10 months after its launch, despite Microsoft boasting about how hard it would be to hack its new OS. [...] The documents reveal that CIA had received help from a non-government contractor in developing the malware. The company is Siege Technologies, a cyber-security company based in New Hampshire, which was acquired on November 15, 2016, by Nehemiah Security, another US company, based in Tysons, Virginia, on the outskirts of Washington and near CIA's headquarters, in a zone peppered with various military and defense contractors.

CIA Co-Developed 'Athena' Windows Malware With US Cyber Security Company, WikiLeaks Reveals

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  • CIA Fronts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19, 2017 @02:50PM (#54450271)

    "Siege Technologies, a cyber-security company based in New Hampshire, which was acquired on November 15, 2016, by Nehemiah Security, another US company, based in Tysons, Virginia, on the outskirts of Washington and near CIA's headquarters, in a zone peppered with various military and defense contractors."

    Many of which are CIA front companies. Essentially the CIA contracts with companies it controls moving the money away from any elected meddling - aka oversight. The money is then used to fund "special projects" that don't need to be reported to anyone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And many of these TLA front-companies turn a profit which goes straight into the TLA's off-record 'black fund' which has no controls or oversight. We're talking billions here. Whistleblowers and journalists who have tried to expose it have been killed.

      • But they don't have sovereign immunity do they?

        Anybody who got hit by this toolkit now has a lawsuit against the company that developed it. Even if the code had escaped into the wild.

        No doubt there is no money there to recover, but it can embarrass the fuck out of the CIA, so settlements are likely, provided the settlement remains lower than the total cost of wetwork (CIA would have to include a 'risk cost', related to how public the person/shyster was).

        • but it can embarrass the fuck out of the CIA

          It's been done hundreds of times, but c'mon... How do you 'embarrass' or shame a psychopath? They laugh at the outrage. *They fart in our general direction* And minuscule 'settlements' are already factored in, under petty cash. And if something goes wrong, tank the economy and/or start a war to divert attention. Works every single time. Like, right now...

  • Expect non-US victims whose countries allow it to sue these companies and their officers in local courts.

    Of course, there won't be any trial and they won't be able to collect any judgements, but the officers may find themselves unable to travel to those countries without risking being hit with a subpoena or possibly worse.

    If "successful" in restricting travel, it may deter other US companies from cooperating with the CIA or buying companies that have cooperated with the CIA in the past.

  • From TFA and TFS ...showing that the CIA had the ability to hack Windows 10 months after its launch, despite Microsoft boasting about how hard it would be to hack its new OS... This was completely unnecessary and unproductive. If you are going to editorialize and add childish zingers like this to your article, people are going to assume the rest of your article is not objective as well and will not take your point seriously. Not to mention that noone is going to be surprised that the collective efforts o
    • by Dracos ( 107777 )

      With every new version of Windows, MS boasts (quite loudly) about how it's the most secure Windows ever... you're calling out the article author for citing that fact? Part of it is marketing to sell the upgrade, and part of it is necessary due to their lackluster security track record.

      There are persistent rumors that the CIA pays MS to leave backdoors open and/or deliberately implement them, so I rather doubt that the agency had to actually find the exploit.

  • The company is Siege Technologies, a cyber-security company

    I think they've forfeited that title.

  • Time for BeOS and Windows 3.1 resurgence.

  • It is really interesting to me that if you Google "Siege Technologies" and click News all of the current articles about Athena are from RT... including RT en Español!

  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @11:10PM (#54453091) Homepage Journal
    Stop storing important files on any Microsoft product.
    Build a walk in secure vault and hold meetings well away from any devices, Microsoft, Apple or other products.
    Consider access your vault area? Elevator, common areas, areas open to the public, areas open to clearers, other contractors, other workers in the same building or secure complex.
    Building doors, office doors can be held open, waited until opened.
    Take notes on paper, use a typewriter. Secure all paperwork after an important meeting.
    Do not have a photocopier near the vault. Ensure all photocopies are secure under CCTV, have a camera to image all copied pages and track paper counts.
    No user digital devices should be near your most vital work so secure anything in an office setting that can make a copy.
    Air gap any networks that deal with users, your nations courts wanting user details, all US brands, services. Keep your company secrets away from any US brands or users, networks that are open to other requests.
    When a product or service is ready for the public, use US brands for later global integration but keep all emerging and work in progress away from any US products, hardware, software, experts and services.
    Dont hire workers that are not trustworthy. That foreigner left their own nation to work for any good wage, who else are they working for?
    If the clandestine services cant get into your secure and air gapped networks, expect staff to be approached. Have your security ready for once trusted staff to be turned by offers of cash or US paperwork.
    Look back over the education of your staff, are they local, smart, loyal, happy, have issues, addictions, faith or cult? Did they tell the truth in their resume? Are they political, have any hidden issues in their past that could be used to make them spy for another nation? Find out before other nations clandestine services make a cash offer. Would they respond to their own faith more than protecting your nation or company?
    Start looking over your logs, past average "malware" intrusion attempts, hire good experts to look at network security and improve it given the Microsoft OS issues.
    Hide your brands real secrets, and then use Microsoft products to create a fiction on your brands networks.

    Get a few staff members to write up fictional projects, busy work, ideas, support, project names, patents, new crypto, software, hardware, amazing advancements.
    Put that disinformation strategy on Microsoft computers and have it face your open networks. See who comes looking given the attractive keyword fiction created. Use very unique project names.
    Use US approved crypto, OS, network standards for the creative fictional digital files. Keep up with anti virus software and log everything.
    Also read up on past projects (1920-2000) against brands and nations that create products, services and that advanced crypto, science, technology of interest to the USA.
    What offer got made to staff or methods used to walk out documents.
    Wait and see if perfect new applicants seem to be a prefect fit for the fictional projects in the skill sets they present.

    Understand that if your brand is able to out smart US brands and bring new, better, cheaper, faster, more secure products to the world your brand is been watched.
    Fix the software, network, OS and hardware issues, understand what could motivate trusted staff to sell, give away, copy or trade your brands secrets. Dont allow a stranger or best "new" "friend" of a staff member to just wonder around your company. No all long term collection methods need internet access. Never hire people your security team cant find information on. Make sure all staff resumes match reality not just a quick look over other altered digital databases.
    Hire only local quality workers for all work. Buying networked hardware on the open market in your brands own name and then having it imported is a risk for hardware alteration.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.

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