A mysterious online group called the Shadow Brokers claims to have infiltrated an elite hacking unit linked to the National Security Agency and stolen state “cyber weapons”, and is now auctioning them off to the highest bidder.
The stolen malware is said to belong to Equation Group, a sophisticated hacking team believed to be operated by the NSA. So far, the Shadow Brokers have only released a few taster files and images of the cache, but security researchers said they appear to be legitimate.
The leak, announced in broken English by the group in a series of posts on Twitter, Tumblr, Pastebin and Github, was accompanied by claims that the group was in possession of state-sponsored “cyber weapons”.
“We auction best files to highest bidder. Auction files better than Stuxnet,” said the group, referring to the sophisticated digital weapon, believed to be funded by the US and Israel, that sabotaged Iran’s nuclear programme. The hackers are asking for a whopping 1m bitcoins, which is around $580m, to release the best files.
The files and pictures of the cache that were offered for free as “proof” include filenames correspond to those mentioned in documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, including “BANANAGLEE”, “JETPLOW” and “EPICBANANA”. There are also a number of hacking tools used for penetrating network gear including routers and firewalls created by major companies like Cisco and Juniper – spy tools which it is already known the NSA uses.