A group of hackers that call themselves “The Shadow Brokers” claim that they were able to breach the Equation Group, which is the hacking group set by the National Security Agency (NSA) as an offshoot branch. The hackers have released a number of the organization’s hacking tools and are asking for 1 million bitcoins in an auction to release the files.
The hackers posted two sets of files online, out of which one is available for free whereas the other is in the auction and would be disclosed to the highest bidder. The Shadow Brokers claim that the “best files” are in the encrypted set.
The set of files that are free contain series of tools that penetrate network gears made by Juniper, Cisco and other big firms. Such targeting gears that focus on routers and firewalls is an old technique used by Western intelligence agencies such as the NSA and this was also documented in Edward Snowden’s files. Part of the code released mentioned BANANAGLEE and JETPLOW, which matches the original documents leaked by Snowden.
List of files The Shadow Brokers dumped on the Internet
Equation Group has been believed to be part of the NSA and was firstly mentioned by the security firm, Kaspersky in 2015. The firm stated that Equation Group is “a threat actor [hacker or hacking group, essentially] that surpasses anything known in terms of complexity and sophistication of techniques, and that has been active for almost two decades.”
It still remains unclear if the hackers claim is legitimate, even though many security analysts believe it to be after analyzing the files they have released and comparing them with Snowden’s. Moreover, NSA has not commented on this matter as of yet and this raises a question as to do they know they have been hacked and don’t want the world to know or is it something else?