The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has formally charged a former NSA employee for taking classified Kaspersky offensive documents home. The man, Nghia Hoang Pho, 67, of Ellicott City, Maryland, pleaded guilty today, according to court documents released by the DOJ.
The DOJ says that Pho started taking documents home starting somewhere in 2010 and up until March 2015, when he was caught.
“Hoang Pho” is heart of the Kaspersky saga
According to the investigation who spoke with New York Times reporters, Pho is the NSA employee at the heart of the recent Kaspersky saga.
According to the events, some of the files Pho took home were offensive cyber-weapons that triggered detections for malicious activity on Pho’s home computer.
Kaspersky admits that the files were automatically uploaded to its servers, a standard procedure for antivirus vendors, but they were later deleted when the company realized they were classified material.
The US government didn’t see it that way and accused the Russian antivirus vendor of conspiring with Russian intelligence to actively search computers for classified material on purpose. US officials then banned the use of Kaspersky products on US government computers.
What is Kaspersky?
Kaspersky Anti-Virus is an antivirus program developed by Kaspersky Lab. It is designed to protect a user from malware and trojans attack also protects computer Microsoft os, mac os although it also supports Linux version.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus features include real-time protection, detection, and removal of viruses, trojans, worms, spyware, adware, keyloggers, malicious tools and. It also includes automatic updating through Kaspersky security network.
Nghia Hoang is the last lead of NSA leaks
Pho’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 6, 2018. He risks a maximum prison sentence of up to ten years, but according to the Times, prosecutors agreed as part of his plea deal not to ask for more than eight years, if found guilty.
Pho is the third NSA employee who faces legal charges for taking NSA documents home after the infamous Edward Snowden incident. The other two are Harold Martin, charged in 2016, and Reality Winner, charged this year for leaking files to a news outlet.
Besides employees taking files home, the NSA also suffered other breaches. The Agency recently exposed sensitive files via a misconfigured Amazon S3 server, and nobody would forget how a hacking group known as The Shadow Brokers leaked NSA cyber-weapons that are now weaponized and employed by regular malware on a daily basis.