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Suspected spycraft, not hacktivism, swirls around alleged NSA hack

Michael Kan | Aug. 17, 2016
Security experts point to the timing of the new attack and the recent DNC hack

The hackers, who call themselves the Shadow Brokers, have warned they’ve obtained other cyber weapons that could wreck havoc on financial systems.

“We auction best files to highest bidder. Auction files better than Stuxnet,” the hackers said in posts on Github and Tumblr that were later taken down.

Security experts suspect that the Shadow Brokers may actually be foreign spies who are trying to threaten the U.S.

“Whoever stole this data now wants the world to know,” Nicholas Weaver, a security researcher at the International Computer Science Institute in California, wrote in a blog post.

He and other security researchers have noted the timing of the auction. It comes as the U.S. is investigating whether Russian state-sponsored hackers may have stolen sensitive files from the Democratic National Committee.

The Shadow Brokers, however, have painted themselves as hacktivists who oppose “wealthy elites.” Their auction is still up for bids and accepting bitcoin.

Although the Shadow Brokers are offering no guarantees with their auction, the sale probably isn’t a scam. On Tuesday, security firm Kaspersky Lab found further evidence that Shadow Brokers did indeed steal files from the Equation Group.

 

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