The Bitcoin Wallet used by the Shadow Brokers hacker group was emptied yesterday and now the group is threatening to sell new hacking tools in exchange for the cryptocurrency Zcash.
The Shadow Brokers
The Shadow Brokers are thought to be a hacker collective who in the summer of 2016 first attempted to sell hacking tools. Tools which exploited vulnerabilities in firewalls, anti-virus software, and Microsoft products. Among these tools was the now infamous Wannacry. The auction raised 10.5 Bitcoins, which on the date of removal was valued at approximately $24,000.
Hack the Planet
In August 2016, just after the Hillary Clinton US Democratic National Committee hack the group announced that they were selling hacking tools that they claimed had been stolen from the U.S National Security Agency. Edward Snowden and The New York Times speculated that it could have been a timed release in order to warn against any retaliation accusing Russian State involvement in the DNC hack. It also sends a message that further embarrassing information on the United States’ own NSA tools, which could have been potentially used internationally, could be released.
This would explain the timing, as this ongoing war of attrition between the two states has historically played out this way. Edward Snowden was at the center of things in 2013, his leaks to the Washington Post and The Guardian newspaper followed what had been a huge flurry of hacks on the West, although fingers at the time were pointed at China as being the source. Complaints soon ended or were certainly drowned out, when details of the NSA and GCHQ’s own PRISM eavesdropping program were released.
The Bitcoin Wallet
The Shadow Brokers own auction failed to receive many bids, most likely due as much to price and the perceived authenticity of the group than people’s actual desire to have them. However, a statement had at least been made. So, in light of the claims, it is surprising that the group has surfaced again, not long after news broke that their dormant auction wallet was emptied, they announced that they have further tools to release. This time the group has embraced a new distribution model.
Monthly Dump Service
They ask for Zcash cryptocurrency, but also make allegation Zcash is somewhat linked to the US government… ? #ShadowBrokers pic.twitter.com/cp5sYMDBgo
— x0rz (@x0rz) May 30, 2017
The announcement, released today, states their new model, which appears to run like a monthly subscription service, they demand a 100 Zec (Zcash) payment in return for the latest 0 day hacking tools. They go on to state:
Monthly dump is being for high rollers, hackers, security companies, OEMs, and governments.
The Shadow Brokers take their name from the leader of a shadowy organization in the video game series Mass Effect who sells hacking tools and information to the highest bidder, giving information to different groups in the game but never giving a specific advantage to anyone.
I previously wrote about Zcash and its adoption by the Darknet’s Alphabay website, as well as more legitimate businesses such as JP Chase and Morgan here. The currency’s price has risen 20%, potentially as part of the exposure brought by the latest news.
What do you think about Shadow Brokers’ latest threat? How will it impact cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of CoinMarketCap, AdobeStock