There has been growing concerns that the US National Security Agency (NSA), which has been the cradle of cyber security has been successfully attacked by computer hackers. There were emerging reports a few days ago of a hacking group known as the Shadow Brokers claiming that it had accessed key digital data after breaching the network of computers used by the Equation Group. An unusual amount of attention was drawn to this report because it is assumed that the spying section of the NSA is the Equation Group. A huge volume of data including phone calls, information of foreign nationals and US citizens, Web-browsing sessions, e-mails, online searches, social connections, and other communications are held by the NSA.

The Shadow Brokers which are widely thought to have links with the Russian government posted some data samples which they claimed to have stolen online. It contained instructions and scripts for breaching firewall protection. After examining the data, cyber security analysts are convinced that the information is indeed from Equation Group. Diplomatic institutions and governments, individuals and companies in different sectors have been targets of the Equation Group in over 30 countries.

After a report in early 2015 by Kaspersky Lab security researchers, a Russian-based computer security company first disclosed the existence of the Equation Group; the group has been under close surveillance. Russia and China were named in Kaspersky Lab reports among the most infected countries by the hacking tools of the Equation Group.

If the NSA can be linked to cyber-attacks on Aeroflot, Gazprom, and other Russian targets with the use of the materials stolen by the Shadow Brokers, then Russia can prove its claim that the US is not as innocent as it claims to the international community. If this happens, US sanctions proposal support could diminish. The after effects of this attack could be severe and on a global scale.

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