The Shadow Brokers hacking group responsible for leaking tools and exploits purportedly linked to the U.S. National Security Agency dumped more stolen secrets on Friday, including evidence that the spy agency was likely monitoring the activity of Middle Eastern banks.
According to news reports and analysis from security researchers, the latest cache of files linked to the “Equation Group” – an APT group widely suspected to be the NSA - strongly suggest that the U.S. has been monitoring these financial institutions by hacking into the SWIFT banking messaging system through a third-party anti-money laundering and fraud prevention service called EastNets.
Belgium-based SWIFT, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, operates a messaging system through which members can order the transfer of funds. This service has been notably abused in a recent series of high-profile cyberattacks launched against member banks, including a 2016 $81 million heist targeting the central bank of Bangladesh – an attack experts have attributed to state-sponsored North Korean hackers.
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