A group that calls themselves the “Shadow Brokers” have hacked the NSA in what is being called a “Historic Hack.” The group hacked the NSA and stole sensitive data including malware and tools used to breach security on devices. The group then leaked some documents and tools publicly, but is holding the “best files” for an online auction that will only be payable in Bitcoin. So far the NSA has not commented on the matter. Dave Aitel, a former NSA research scientist, said it was “very interesting” at the least and “very damaging” at worst.
The first set of files released publicly for free contained a set of tools used to infiltrate common routers in the USA. The code words used in the accompanying documentation reference the same code words in the Intel Documents leaked by Edward Snowden. Security researchers analyzing the code warned it is functional and includes computer codes for carrying out espionage. The NSA at any point without warning can breach the security of most common household routers. The person using the router would not even notice an attack is being carried out.
The second set of files are to be sold to the highest bidder on the black market. The “Shadow Broker” will only sell the information to the highest bidder. The auction contains “the best files.” and if they receive at least 1 million in Bitcoins (About $550 Million US), they will post more documents and make them available for free. If the leak is a genuine sample of NSA code, which researchers are saying it is, this will be a historic black eye to the agency as the data is highly classified.
The group gets their name from a Video Game Trilogy called Mass Effect. In the video game, the Shadow Broker sold classified information to the highest bidder. This group operates under the same name, and does the exact same thing the “Shadow Broker” does in the video game series:
“The Shadow Broker is an individual at the head of an expansive organization which trades in information, always selling to the highest bidder. The Shadow Broker appears to be highly competent at its trade: all secrets that are bought and sold never allow one customer of the Broker to gain a significant advantage, forcing the customers to continue trading information to avoid becoming disadvantaged, allowing the Broker to remain in business. – Mass Effect Wiki
A spokesperson for the White house Declined to comment on what is being called a landmark day in cyber warfare history.