Ex-NSA Contractor Pleads Guilty to Top Secret Data Theft
A former NSA contractor has pleaded guilty to stealing top secret government documents over a two decade period, putting national security at risk.
Harold Martin III, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, confessed to “willful retention of national defense information,” having previously denied all charges against him, and will now serve nine years behind bars, according to the Department of Justice.
Former US Navy man Martin worked at multiple private contracting companies from December 1993 to August 27, 2016, gaining clearance to handle Top Secret and Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI).
He’s thought to have taken as much as 50TB of data over a 20-year period starting in the late 1990s and ending with his arrest in 2016, storing them at home and in his vehicle.
It has been reported that Martin may have been linked in some way to the infamous Shadow Brokers data dump of classified NSA hacking tools.
He is alleged to have tried to communicate over Twitter with Russian AV firm Kaspersky Lab, sending five cryptic private messages requesting a meeting with founder Eugene Kaspersky, stating what he had to discuss had a “shelf life” of three weeks.
Just 30 minutes after the messages were sent, the Kremlin-linked Shadow Brokers began PR-ing their haul, according to Politico.
Kaspersky tipped off the FBI about the messages, which resulted in a major raid on Martin’s home in which were found the stolen classified documents — apparently including some of the same hacking tools leaked by the Shadow Brokers.
“This case shows that there is still work to be done when it comes to stopping criminals before they have a chance to actually steal large amounts of data over extended periods,” said Mohan Koo, Dtex Systems founder and CTO.
“We work with public and private sector organizations daily to help them prevent insider threats from getting out of hand. The ones that place equal emphasis on illegal activity detection and investigations experience fewer data theft incidents.”
Source: Information Security Magazine