US investigates role at Juniper NSA hack

Jan

30

2016

The US Congress should investigate the possibility that the National Security Agency has had to deal with developing a backdoor into the ScreenOS software, network equipment, Juniper Networks.

As was previously suggested that the NSA has had to do with the creation of a weakening in the software algorithm for encryption. Now comes a special committee of the congress find out if that is indeed the case. This month, the commission sent letters to 24 government agencies to ask if they used Juniper equipment and whether the equipment ScreenOS software running.

The initial aim of the study was to find out whether hackers could have been received by government agencies. If it appears that a government agency just took care of the backdoor, it would change the whole debate, says Will Hurt, a Republican from Texas, in an interview with Reuters. What would this play is that the first vulnerability that was in the software was based on a technique developed by the NSA.

Hurt finds that the US government itself should not ask implement techniques to weaken security which are also used by the government itself. Juniper has not yet said how the code could get into the software, but it could be that large customers have demanded that certain code could be included as part of a contract, have former employees told Reuters. The NSA would be a logical suspect for additional code in 2008, but a security researcher at the International Computer Science Institute thinks the code in 2012 and 2014 are likely to be introduced by other countries.

The found bits of code in December made sure VPN connections that ran through ScreenOS, were not safe. The algorithm was in the software, called Dual_EC_DBRG. Already in 2007 it was discovered that the algorithm is not safe.

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