NSA Hacked? 'Shadow Brokers' Crew Claims Compromise Of Surveillance Op

Has the NSA just been hacked? Security experts speaking with FORBES think it’s possible, after a group published malware and attack code allegedly belonging to the Equation Group, a crew linked to the US intelligence agency. But while many believe the leak looks legitimate, the hackers could have pulled off a very clever ruse.

In 2015, researchers at Russian security company Kaspersky Lab revealed a highly-advanced arsenal of hacking tools used by the Equation campaign. They were believed to have been the work of the NSA as the code was linked with previous, allegedly US-sponsored hacks, including the infamous Regin and Stuxnet attacks. That link, however, was never definitively proven nor admitted by the signals intelligence body.

Two days ago, on August 13, a group calling themselves The Shadow Brokers released files on Github, claiming they came from the Equation Group. The files included code allegedly designed to exploit firewalls from American manufacturers Cisco, Juniper and Fortinet . One Chinese company, Topsec, was also an Equation target, according to the leaks. None of the manufacturers had responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.

The hackers released 60 per cent of the files they claimed to have taken from the Equation Group. The Shadow Brokers said they would release the remaining data to the highest bidder in a Bitcoin auction (they’ve received two bids so far). If they received an extraordinary 1,000,000 Bitcoins, worth roughly $560 million, they would release all the files.

“We follow Equation Group traffic. We find Equation Group source range. We hack Equation Group. We find many many Equation Group cyber weapons,” the hacker collective wrote (grammar errors theirs). “We give you some Equation Group files free, you see. This is good proof no? You enjoy!!! You break many things. You find many intrusions. You write many words. But not all, we are auction the best files...

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