A mysterious hacker Shadow Brokers released files which suggested Friday that the US NSA(National Security Agency) had penetrated the SWIFT banking network and also monitored a number of Middle East banks.
According to computer security analysts, the files also showed that the NSA had found and exploited a lot of vulnerabilities in a range of Microsoft Windows products which are widely used on computers around the globe.
Analysts generally accepted the files, that show someone exploits like “zero-day” or hitherto unknown vulnerabilities in a common software and hardware, came from NSA.
They are believed to have stolen from a very secret hacking unit named the “Equation Group” at the key US signals intelligence agency.
“These tools and exploits which are released today are specifically designed to target earlier versions of Windows OS,” said the security specialist Pierluigi Paganini on the popular Security Affairs website.
They “suggest that the NSA was targeting the SWIFT banking system of several banks around the world.”
The files appear to indicate that the NSA had infiltrated two of SWIFT’s service bureaus, including EastNets, which provides technology services in the Middle East for the Belgium-based SWIFT and for individual financial institutions.
Via that entry point, the agency appears to have monitored transactions involving several banks and financial institutions in Dubai, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Yemen and Qatar.
In a statement on their website, EastNets rejected the allegations.
“The reports of an alleged hacker-compromised EastNets Service Bureau network is totally false and unfounded,” it said.
“We can confirm that no EastNets customer data has been compromised in any way.”
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.”