US government officials now fear that other countries have been spying on their encrypted communications and those of private firms for three years, as per the Thursday disclosure of Juniper Networks of hackers installing back doors in computer equipments.
The FBI is now looking at the possibility of foreign countries who target the US and have been spying it for years. Juniper Networks released a security patch it urged its customers to install to their systems “with the highest priority.” Juniper Networks equipment is widely used so that determining the damage done will take some time.
According to Juniper, someone got into its systems and wrote “unauthorized code” to “allow a knowledgeable attacker to gain administrative access.” With the access, a hacker can monitor an encrypted traffic on the network and decrypt communications. Worse, the hackers would not leave any trace behind by removing security logs which could show their activity.
They created a back door so they can remotely log into VPN networks to spy on even the most secure communications. The fix Juniper released would seal the back door created by the hackers.
According to Fortune , the US Computer Emergency Response Team of the Department of Homeland Security issued a notice via its website for Juniper customers to install the update.
US officials said that sophisticated hackers who were able to compromise equipment could access government agencies and companies that used them, just like “stealing a master key to get into any government building.”
It is believed that there might be US spying going on and as what Juniper Networks disclosed, government officers speculate it belongs to a foreign government, and not by the country’s spy agencies. According to CNN , Russia and China are among the suspects but officials warned the investigation have not reached a conclusion yet.
Speaking to CNN, a senior administration official stated: “We are aware of the vulnerabilities recently announced by Juniper. The Department of Homeland Security has been and remains in close touch with the company. The administration remains committed to enhancing our national cybersecurity by raising our cyber defenses, disrupting adversary activity, and effectively responding to incidents when they occur.”
Juniper supplies routers and computer network equipment to big companies as well as to US government clients like the FBI and departments of Justice, Treasury and Defense, boasting the tagline on its website that they sell networks that “US intelligence agencies require.”