Last week on my radio show, I discussed how some of the most powerful hacking tools created by the NSA’s elite hacking group known as the “Equation Group” have been released in the public by a hacking group calling themselves “The Shadow Brokers”.
Many experts in the InfoSec arena including the security firm Kaspersky stated, “The files posted by The Shadow Brokers and tools used by the Equation group, “share specific and rare characteristics”, so the probability of falsification is “highly unlikely.”
The tools that were release are much more sophisticated than many of the open source and freely available hacking tools that are available on the internet. These tools can easily circumvent the security of many of the major government and corporate networks both in the US and abroad. These tools can also be used to take over firewalls that are used in the largest and most critical environments around the world.
The Shadow Brokers are asking for 1 Million in Bitcoins (around $568 Million Dollars) in an auction to release more hacking tools in the public.
How can this happen you ask?
The main suspect is Russia, and it’s not clear if the hackers broke into the secure NSA computer network or, more likely, an NSA employee left the hacking tools on an unsecured intermediate server during a hacking operation.
In a tweet about the event, Edward Snowden, former NSA employee and whistle blower stated, “NSA’s hackers are told not to leave their hack tools (‘binaries’) on the server after an op,” but later stated, “But people get lazy.”
If Russia is indeed responsible as many security researchers believe, it seems they have taken their cyber-attacks to a new level with the recent occurrence pertaining to the hacked emails and stolen documents from the Democratic Party.
How should the US respond?