As the world heard about the downing of MH17 in Ukraine on July 17, Bloomberg Businessweek reported hackers with an “intelligence agency of another country” had placed malware on the American stock exchange NASDAQ.
— Businessweek (@BW) July 17, 2014
“Elite Russian hackers had breached the stock exchange and inserted a digital bomb,” the NSA had concluded after an investigation, writes Michael Riley.
“The best case was that the hackers had packed their malware with a destruction module in case they were detected and needed to create havoc in Nasdaq computer banks to throw off their pursuers. The worst case was that creating havoc was their intention. President Obama was briefed on the findings.”
According to U.S. investigators the Russians were not attempting to destroy the NASDAQ but rather clone it, “either to incorporate its technology directly into their exchange or as a model to learn from” and had “dispatched an elite team of cyberspies to get it.”
Cyber espionage is nothing new. The NSA specializes in it. In response to NSA spying and cyber mischief Germany is now considering using typerwriters to foil espionage attempts. Earlier this Germany decided to expel the CIA station chief in Berlin in response to espionage.
Despite the fact states spying on and stealing from each other is routine – Israel for instance routinely steals U.S. secrets under the cover of trade missions and joint defense technology contracts – the Bloomberg story singles out Russia at precisely the moment it is accused of engaging in a terrorist shoot down of a civilian passenger airliner.