Is the NSA Baiting the Shadow Brokers with Seized Bitcoin?
According to a recent post from crypto-blogger Krypt3ia, the wallet of the Shadow Brokers group who are auctioning NSA hacking tools, has been receiving the very same bitcoin that was seized from Silk Road.
Also read: Alleged Silk Road Forum Operator ‘Roped Into’ U.S. Extradition
Shadow Brokers Wallet ‘Tested’ by Seized Silk Road Bitcoins
Last week, Krypt3ia stated that the Shadow Brokers are getting small amounts of cryptocurrency sent to their auction address from the Silk Road Bitcoin wallet. The sending wallet in question appears to be the same cache of Bitcoins seized when the Silk Road was taken down. The blogger Krypt3ia wonders why the U.S. government is sending the “tainted” bitcoins and believes maybe they are testing the waters with the hacker group.
The blogger explains his suspicions:
So, this is to say that these coins are still in the coffers of the feds and they are being sent to ShadowBrokers to chum the water here? Maybe get a conversation going? Maybe to get the bitcoins flying so others can trace some taint? Of course once you start to look at that address and the coins in and out there you get some other interesting hits. Suddenly you are seeing US Marshall service as well being in that loop. Which makes sense after the whole thing went down with the theft of coins and such by rogue agents of the USSS and DEA.
NSA’s Spying Arsenal for 1 Million Bitcoins
The recent theft of NSA exploits has had the entire world watching the actions of a group of hackers called the Shadow Brokers. Allegedly, the group has a cache of NSA hacking tools it wants to sell for 1 million bitcoins roughly worth $580 million USD. Shadow Brokers supposedly stole the tools and zero-day vulnerabilities from the NSA-related Equation Group. The hacker organization had left a Bitcoin address in hopes of receiving the 1 million BTC in exchange for the exploits.
3) This is how we steal their rivals' hacking tools and reverse-engineer them to create "fingerprints" to help us detect them in the future.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) August 16, 2016
Many people have been quite skeptical about the entire incident. However, software providers such as Fortinet and Cisco have both confirmed their services have been affected by some of the tools. Additionally, the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has also verified the legitimacy of the theft in recently revealed documents.
The NSA exploits could play a significant role online as the tools can infect and monitor millions of computer systems worldwide. Snowden has also hinted that Russia may be behind the leak stating:
This leak looks like a somebody sending a message that an escalation in the attribution game could get messy fast.— That could have significant foreign policy consequences. Particularly if any of those operations targeted US allies.
Currently, the Shadow Brokers wallet has only 1.76 BTC in the wallet and has been receiving a little cryptocurrency nearly every day. The accumulated $1,000 worth of Bitcoin is a far cry from the $580 million they are looking for with their auction. There are those that believe Krypt3ia’s blog post is inaccurate and say funds were sent to the Shadow Brokers wallet and the Silk Road wallet randomly. Skeptics say this evidence of random outputs proves nothing. If the funds being sent are coming from US government entities, things could get interesting soon.
What do you think about the recent NSA exploit leak? Do you believe it is legitimate? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of the Krypt3ia blog, Twitter, and Pixabay