'Shadow Brokers' threaten to release more hacking tools in June

Shadow Brokers, the group that previously leaked the tools responsible for the global ransomware attack that followed, has threatened that it would soon release more Windows related exploits and the associated malware.

On Tuesday, following the WannaCry attacks, the Shadow Brokers posted a new message online in which they claim to have many more Equation exploits that haven't been leaked yet. The gang says that potential buyers would have to pay the subscription fee the data is locked behind but, other than that, practically everyone could buy it and used it for whatever purposes, terrorist organizations included.

It also threatened to release compromised data from the global banking network and secret information on the nuclear and missile programs of Russia, China, Iran or North Korea.

Early Tuesday, a post purportedly from the Shadow Brokers announced that it was starting a sort of hack-of-the-month club.

Sean Dillon, a senior security analyst at RiskSense, said the group has proven they possess highly effective tools so people, particularly criminals, are very willing to pay for what them. Dillon was among the first researchers to reverse engineer the DoublePulsar payload that helped weaponize the WannaCrypt malware over the weekend. Of course, anything the Shadow Brokers say should be taken with full shaker of salt.

The group has been gaining headlines lately thanks its previous release of Eternal Blue, the NSA-linked Windows SMB exploit that was used by those behind the WannaCry ransomware that spread across the globe in the past week. Yet it still caused problems on many thousands of unpatched systems.

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It initially said 16 NHS organizations had reported being hit, and more reports came in as the day went on. Doctors' practices and pharmacies reported similar problems.

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. When that didn't work, it tried selling exploits in smaller bundles.

Microsoft didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

ShadowBrokers first surfaced a year ago offering for sale a suite of hacking tools stolen from the US National Security Agency, leaking bits to demonstrate what they had in their possession.

It also references a meme from the poorly-translated video game Zero Wing that first surfaced in 1998.

It isn't clear where the Shadow Brokers got the NSA hacking tools, but the arrest of former NSA contractor Harold T. Martin III last August for stealing a massive amount of data has made him the most likely suspect. The tech industry writ large opposes efforts by the government to weaken the security of its products, while national security advocates say it could help combat terrorism. But if the subscription service launches in June as stated, he expects there will be subscribers.

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