A group of hackers called the Shadow Brokers got their hands on hacking tools from the National Security Agency and started to bargain for them on the internet. A part of the programs had been publicly exposed, while others will be made available for millions of bitcoin dollars.
One hacker later showed up saying that he actually owns the rest of the NSA tools. While using the nickname @1×0123, he started to post claims. Even if he was not able to show he is legit, he refused to offer any information. He was also very irritated by the fact that the journalists have messed up his deals in the past.
The hacker asked $1,000 only to show screenshots of the information and appears to have been tricked Shadow Brokers in obtaining the NSA tools. He also claims to be in contact with Edward Snowden.
The Shadow Brokers is a threat actor with an unconfirmed identity that is responsible for revealing the vulnerabilities and exploits. The group is connected with the Equation Group. It is supposed that the preparation started at the beginning of August, and the publication came on the 13th of the month.
The threat actor used a Twitter account which was named @theshadowbrokerss. The group also set up a Pastebin page that contains instruction on how to obtain and decrypt the files, which are supposed to contain the tools used by Equation Group.
As the only document present on the web page is an encrypted file for which no key had been provided, no one knows if the claims are real and that the NSA tools are owned by the hackers. Nonetheless, the Shadow Brokers offered an address where to send the bitcoins.
The Equation Group is one of the most sophisticated groups focused on cyber groups. It’s operating with the creators of Flame and Stuxnet. Flame was used in the Middle East cyber espionage, while Stuxnet is believed to be an American-Israeli internet weapon.
Up to 2015, Kaspersky discovered 500 malware infections orchestrated by the Equation Group in more than 42 countries, with most of the targets being located in Russia, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, India, Mali, and Syria. The group is thought to be associated with the US National Security Agency.
As for the Shadow Brokers, Kaspersky found similarities between the codes used by the Equation Group and those published by the recent hackers. While the Shadow Brokers might be legit, Edward Snowden suggested they may be Russian intelligence.
Image Source: Wikipedia
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