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Buy the data we stole or else, warn hackers

19 May 2017

Although experts say the Shadow Brokers do not appear to have been directly involved in the WannaCry crisis, leaking the exploit in the first place was a major step toward facilitating the attack.

The move highlights the growing commercial sophistication of groups such as the Shadow Brokers, which has already demonstrated a fearsome technical ability to compromise the world's top intelligence agencies.

"The ShadowBrokers is feeling like being very responsible party about Windows dump", Shadow Brokers wrote in the blog, in its usual freaky dialect.

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Dillon believes that once somebody gets data dump from the hackers, the exploits would likely become public.

Previously, the group had merely sought to sell its hacking tools to the highest bidder. The US government has not commented directly on the matter. Another NSA employee was also arrested in 2015, but no information has been released about the individual. While later reports have questioned how much of a role the Shadow Brokers actually had in the leak of the exploits, what is known without a doubt is that the exploits in their possession did indeed originate from the NSA, as confirmed by the Snowden documents.

He added that most of the exploits The Shadow Brokers May release are still patchable, though exploits to Android handsets might remain "devastating". Earlier this year, it dumped more, including exploits targeting Windows computers, after failing to sell them in an online auction.

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The Shadow Brokers was responsible for leaking EternalBlue, the Windows SMB exploit that was used by attackers in recent days to infect hundreds of thousands of computers around the world with the WannaCry ransomware program. It is believed that hacking tools that belong to the NSA were leaked online and were used to build into WannaCry ransomware, also known as WannaCrypt, which has ensnared up to 300,000 computers in more than 150 countries. At the end of the letter, the hacker group hinted the NSA could make all these problems go away if the agency paid up for the tools. "Microsoft has been critical of the United States government over this stockpiling of vulnerability code, and said this was equivalent to the government losing it stock of 'Tomahawk missiles".

The Shadow Brokers said it made a decision to share screenshots from the NSA Equation Group's lost 2013 Windows Ops Disk in January, with the understanding that the Equation Group would then tell Microsoft and the vulnerability would be patched. "Unwitting HUMINT [Human Intelligence]", the group claimed in its blog.

Marcy Wheeler, a longtime independent researcher, said in a blog post of her own Tuesday that the Shadow Brokers' post "brings the hammer" down both on Microsoft, whose products could be affected by any further leaks, and the National Security Agency, whose information the Shadow Brokers leaked in April.

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