A hacker group has claimed to have breached a NSA affiliate, obtaining details of cyber weapons which it wishes to auction for 1,000,000 bitcoins.
NSA Cyber Weapons for A Million Bitcoins?
An assumed group of hackers, the ‘Shadow Brokers,’ has claimed responsibility for the hack, but this is currently disputed.
Released August 13 on GitHub but now blocked, the data relates to files held by NSA affiliate Equation Group from late 2013 and contains terms identical to the data exposed by Edward Snowden at the same time.
“How much you pay for enemies cyber weapons? We follow Equation Group traffic. We find Equation Group source range. We hack Equation Group. We find many many Equation Group cyber weapons,” RT and IB Times quote from a Tumblr post by the group, also since removed.
We give you some Equation Group files free, you see. This is good proof no? You enjoy!!! You break many things. You find many intrusions. You write many words. But not all, we are auction the best files.
The price set for the juiciest insider information is one million BTC, currently worth around $560 million.
WikiLeaks: Data ‘Already Obtained’
However, GitHub’s removal of access to the files prompted WikiLeaks to state it would “release its own pristine copy in due course” as it “had had already obtained the archive of NSA cyber weapons released earlier.”
We had already obtained the archive of NSA cyber weapons released earlier today and will release our own pristine copy in due course.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 16, 2016
The validity of the claims has yet to be tested, but could prove costly to Shadow Broker profit margins.
However, the real damage the data hack could do lies not in the secrets of the past, but the future US political landscape. En masse breaches of public security entities constitute breaches of public trust, with voters no doubt reacting accordingly.
“The question everyone should be asking about [the DNC hack] and [the Shadow Brokers] is what is going to happen next?” CrowdStrike CTO Dmitri Alperovitch tweeted in light of the news.
2. No doubt that further leaks will continue and contribute to the chaos of this already way too weird election
— Dmitri Alperovitch (@DAlperovitch) August 15, 2016
Voters are already edgy in the US following widely-publicized hacking of Democrat emails, blame for which was initially placed at Russia’s door but since rescinded after a hacker claimed responsibility.
“No doubt that further leaks will continue and contribute to the chaos of this already way too weird election,” Alperovitch continued. “I think there is plenty of reasons to be concerned that the election itself would be manipulated.”
The hack meanwhile continues to lay bare the seeming ease with which major organizations’ data can be compromised and held at ransom. Two breaches of the SWIFT payment system earlier this year testify to a legacy structure ill-equipped to deal with the constantly evolving threat from cybercriminals.
What do you think about the news of the NSA hack or hacks? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
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