NSA’s team of elite hackers has reportedly been compromised, with an anonymous group, calling itself Shadow Brokers, saying it breached the systems used by the NSA’s elite team of hackers that go by the name of Equation Group.
According to a report, the Shadow Brokers posted on Tumblr announcing the breach and released a sample of the data it was able to steal. The group also showed another encrypted file that it said it will sell the decryption key for to the highest bidder. The sale is via a bitcoin auction.
“How much you pay for enemies’ cyberweapons?” said the post, according to the report. “We hack Equation Group. We find many, many Equation Group cyberweapons. You see pictures. We give you some Equation Group files free … But not all, we are auction the best files.”
Although the group’s language is questionable, the report noted that researchers who downloaded the sample data said it does include some data that is intriguing, including 300 megabytes of code the researchers said match up with some of the actual exploits the NSA hackers use. The report noted it’s too early to tell 100 percent that the breached code and other data is that of Equation Group or any NSA-related hacker group. But the code does back up other exploits named in 2013 when Edward Snowden leaked government data.
“It looks very much as if the NSA attacked someone, and that someone managed to source the origin of the attacks and counterhacked them,” said Claudio Guarnieri, a researcher at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, in the report. “The content is credible enough and properly reflects what we know of some of the program names in there.”
The report noted some of the sample data released by the hackers included exploits aimed at equipment sold by companies such as Cisco, Juniper, Fortigate and Topsec. And while they attack older versions of the companies’ equipment, they are flaws that were not discovered in the past.