ShadowBrokers launch subscription service for stolen NSA tools


How much would you pay for access to stolen hacking tools developed by some of the NSA's most elite computer scientists? The enigmatic entity calling itself TheShadowBrokers thinks that $23,000 is a fair price.

The mysterious group that first appeared in August 2016 claiming to have a trove of tools pilfered from the Equation Group, which has been identified as an NSA hacking operation, have been periodically releasing bits of that stash for free.

In April, TheShadowBrokers dumped tools and exploits that led to the WannaCry ransomware attack as well as other malware that has been used in recent attacks.

The group then issued a long blog post written in pigeon English, complaining that no one had offered to buy the stolen data and make them "go dark," and contemplating the launch of a "wine of month" style subscription service.

In a new blog post, TheShadowBrokers announced that interested subscribers can sign up during the month of June for a fee of 100 ZEC or Zcash cryptocurrency – worth about $235 a share -- and then in the first two weeks of July patrons will receive the next dump of hacking tools.

TheShadowBrokers said they have not decided what will be in the next release, but said it will include "Something of value to someone."

"The time for 'I'll show you mine if you show me yours first' is being over," states the post. "Peoples is seeing what happenings when theshadowbrokers is showing theshadowbrokers' first. This is being wrong question. Question to be asking 'Can my organization afford not to be first to get access to theshadowbrokers dumps?'"

In the May 15 blog post, TheShadowBrokers stated that future releases of tools could include, "web browser, router, handset exploits and tools; select items from newer Ops Disks, including newer exploits for Windows 10; compromised network data from more SWIFT providers and Central banks; compromised network data from Russian, Chinese, Iranian, or North Korean nukes and missile programs."

Cybersecurity experts continue to speculate over who is or are TheShadowBrokers and how they acquired the NSA data -- possibly from an insider such as former contractor Hal Martin, who has been charged under the Espionage Act with stealing classified data from the NSA and CIA.

About the Author

Sean Carberry is a former FCW staff writer who focused on defense, cybersecurity and intelligence.


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