New leak suggests NSA penetrated Mideast banking networks

Friday's dump contains potent exploits and hacking tools that target most versions of Microsoft Windows and evidence of sophisticated hacks on the SWIFT banking system of several banks across the world.

In the case of the NSA, the latest data dump from the Shadow Brokers suggests the NSA's motive was to surveil banking activity in the Middle East, not steal money, but any breach of security of the global messaging system could have significant consequences.

The attacks and new hacking tactics underscore the continuing vulnerability of the SWIFT messaging network, which handles trillions of dollars in fund transfers daily.

SWIFT said in a statement that the allegations involve only its service bureaus and not its own network.

"There is no impact on SWIFT's infrastructure or data, however we understand that communications between these service bureaus and their customers may previously have been accessed by unauthorised third parties".

SWIFT said that it has no evidence that its primary network has been accessed without authorisation.

And Suiche called the statement "lies" and questioned how EastNets was able to check its systems in just a few hours in order to make such a statement.

EastNets had denied being hacked, telling WIRED there is "no credibility to the online claim of a compromise of EastNets customer information on its SWIFT service bureau".

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It appears that though most of the exploits target older Windows versions, dating back as early as Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, but many supported versions are still on the list, including Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Mustafa Al-Bassam, a computer science researcher at University College London, said on Twitter that the Shadow Brokers documents show that the "NSA hacked a bunch of banks, oil and investment companies in Palestine, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Yemen, more". The releases are published with unusual and misspelled blog posts.

A group known as the Shadow Brokers chose Good Friday to publish a sweeping set of confidential hacking tools used by the NSA to exploit software vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows software.

The opinion was seconded by Matthew Hicke, y of UK-based cybersecurity company Hacker House.

"This is as big as it gets", Hickey said. It declined to elaborate.

Until today, though, the Shadow Brokers have not published anything critical, but instead released information apparently related to the theft of documents by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. A little while ago, Sam Biddle, a reporter for the Intercept, tweeted, "Wow: Microsoft just told me NO ONE from NSA (or anywhere in the government) has contacted them yet re: Shadow Brokers".

The latest disclosure appears to have come courtesy of "The Shadow Brokers", a mysterious entity that for months has managed to slowly leak computer code allegedly used by NSA hackers to conduct cyberattacks on behalf of the US intelligence community.

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