Group linked to NSA spy leaks threatens sale of new tech secrets

Allan Goodman
May 21, 2017

The group proposed a "monthly subscription model" for dumps, beginning in June - despite the fact that earlier plans to auction the vulnerabilities didn't pan out.

"Shadow Brokers is feeling like being very responsible party about Windows dump", it claimed.

The threat with the most teeth, however, is the claim that The Shadow Brokers could have more exploits to release, targeting mobile devices or Windows 10, as well as leaked data from the SWIFT banking system or nuke and missile programs in Russia, Iran, China or North Korea.

In a blog post, the group said the releases will start in June, and be available to people who pay a "subscription" fee. "What members doing with data after is up to members".

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While the motives of the Shadow Brokers remains unknown, it claimed that it wasn't interested in the bug bounties paid by software firms for vulnerabilities found in their code or selling to "cyber thugs".

The group said that it would be launching a serial data dump of hacking tools that supposedly are developed by the United States spy company, National Security Agency (NSA). The leaks, and the global WannaCry ransomware attack that they led to, have renewed debate over how and when intelligence agencies should disclose vulnerabilities used in cyber spying programs so that businesses and consumers can better defend themselves. Still, he said, "Microsoft needs to admit that the 20th century is over, it's a much more hostile environment, and the hobbling NSA won't make us any safer."Under former President Barack Obama, the USA government created an inter-agency review, known as the Vulnerability Equities Process, to determine whether flaws should be shared or kept secret.White House cyber security coordinator Rob Joyce, who previously worked in the NSA's elite hacking squad, told a Reuters reporter in April that the Trump administration was considering how to "optimise" the Vulnerability Equities Process, but he did not elaborate.The White House did not respond to a request for comment about the status of the review process".

Hacking tools believed to belong to the NSA that were leaked online last month were built into WannaCry ransomware - also known as WannaCrypt - that swept the globe on Friday. Microsoft has connected previous exploits of its products released by the mysterious Shadow Brokers group to tools which were stolen from NSA cyber warfare operations. However, as researcher Marcy Wheeler points out, simply threatening these leaks can strain relationships between Microsoft and the USA government, which may be the real aim.

Microsoft said on Tuesday it was aware of Shadow Brokers' most recent claim and that its security teams monitor potential threats in order to "help us prioritise and take appropriate action". The US government has not commented directly on the matter.

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