Leaks: NSA Penetrated Mideast Banking Networks

NSA Had a List of Banks 'Of Interest'

New leaked documents released by the Shadow Brokers includes information showing that the NSA penetrated Middle Eastern financial networks, initially with an eye toward being able to track all financial transactions in the region as an “anti-money laundering” effort.

This involved hacking into the region’s SWIFT banking system, and unsurprisingly,, given the NSA’s penchant for mission creep fairly quickly grew this into an effort not only to have access to the information on financial transactions, but to try to gain access to a long list of banks “of interest.”

The leaks provided information showing that SWIFT bureau in the Middle East, EastNet, made some very poor security choices, which would’ve allowed the NSA to easily attack essentially all of the banks on the network, as soon as they had compromised the first one.

Documents showed at least five of the banks “of interest” had been compromised. It is unclear from the documents whether the NSA continues to have these banks’ systems compromised and is continued to collect data from them, though at the very least they now have a heads up that it’s going on.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.