Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Threat Intelligence

9/25/2018
05:10 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Ex-NSA Developer Gets 5 1/2-Year Prison Sentence

Nghia Hoang Pho, who illegally took home classified NSA information, also sentenced to three years of supervised release after prison term.

A former National Security Agency software developer with its Tailored Access Operations (TAO) has been sentenced to 66 months in prison plus three years of supervised release for taking home classified information without authorization.

Nghia Hoang Pho, 68, of Ellicott City, Md., had pleaded guilty in December of 2017 for his actions that ultimately led to the theft of classified NSA hacking tools and other information from his personal computer by Russian state-sponsored actors. Pho's machine was breached on Oct. 4, 2014, after he installed what appeared to be a pirated Office 2013 application, which was later detected by the Kaspersky Lab anti-malware software running on the computer. 

Kaspersky Lab in November 2017 conducted an internal investigation on Pho's infected machine after the Moscow-based security company came under scrutiny and faced allegations that its software had assisted Russian nation-state actors in stealing the NSA hacking tools off the NSA employee's home computer. The security company has denied those allegations.

Pho's PC was infected with the Mokes backdoor, aka Smoke Bot and Smoke Loader, an information-stealing backdoor Trojan sold in Russian cybercrime underground forums, Kaspersky Lab found.

The former NSA employee took home classified information in both digital and paper form between 2010 and March 2015, and eventually, some of that information was exposed to Russian state-sponsored hackers.  

"Removing and retaining such highly classified material displays a total disregard of Pho's oath and promise to protect our nation’s national security," US District Attorney Robert K. Hur said in a US Department of Justice statement today announcing Pho's sentencing. "As a result of his actions, Pho compromised some of our country's most closely held types of intelligence, and forced NSA to abandon important initiatives to protect itself and its operational capabilities, at great economic and operational cost."

Related Content:

 

Black Hat Europe returns to London Dec 3-6 2018  with hands-on technical Trainings, cutting-edge Briefings, Arsenal open-source tool demonstrations, top-tier security solutions and service providers in the Business Hall. Click for information on the conference and to register.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
News
Inside the Ransomware Campaigns Targeting Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/2/2021
Commentary
Beyond MITRE ATT&CK: The Case for a New Cyber Kill Chain
Rik Turner, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions, Omdia,  3/30/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-3493
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-17
The overlayfs implementation in the linux kernel did not properly validate with respect to user namespaces the setting of file capabilities on files in an underlying file system. Due to the combination of unprivileged user namespaces along with a patch carried in the Ubuntu kernel to allow unprivile...
CVE-2021-3492
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-17
Shiftfs, an out-of-tree stacking file system included in Ubuntu Linux kernels, did not properly handle faults occurring during copy_from_user() correctly. These could lead to either a double-free situation or memory not being freed at all. An attacker could use this to cause a denial of service (ker...
CVE-2020-2509
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-17
A command injection vulnerability has been reported to affect QTS and QuTS hero. If exploited, this vulnerability allows attackers to execute arbitrary commands in a compromised application. We have already fixed this vulnerability in the following versions: QTS 4.5.2.1566 Build 20210202 and later Q...
CVE-2020-36195
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-17
An SQL injection vulnerability has been reported to affect QNAP NAS running Multimedia Console or the Media Streaming add-on. If exploited, the vulnerability allows remote attackers to obtain application information. QNAP has already fixed this vulnerability in the following versions of Multimedia C...
CVE-2021-29445
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-16
jose-node-esm-runtime is an npm package which provides a number of cryptographic functions. In versions prior to 3.11.4 the AES_CBC_HMAC_SHA2 Algorithm (A128CBC-HS256, A192CBC-HS384, A256CBC-HS512) decryption would always execute both HMAC tag verification and CBC decryption, if either failed `JWEDe...