(EnviroNews Politics Desk) — A group called “TheShadowBrokers,” which was responsible for the April “WannaCry” global ransomware attack, has published a new threat, warning it will sell hacking code for international phones, computers and even weapons programs.
In a blog post dated May 16, 2017, the band of hackers promised to sell tools that will enable people to break into web browsers, banks, routers, phones, Windows 10, the SWIFT international money transfer network and last but not least, Chinese, Russian, Iranian and/or North Korean nuclear and missile programs.
The post on Steemit.com was titled, “OH LORDY! Comey Wanna Cry Edition.” In the group’s trademark broken English, which is believed to be purposeful, it states:
In June, TheShadowBrokers is announcing “TheShadowBrokers Data Dump of the Month” service. TheShadowBrokers is launching new monthly subscription model. Is being like wine of month club. Each month peoples can be paying membership fee, then getting members only data dump each month. What members doing with data after is up to members.
While no specific details were given, the group’s recent incitement of the widespread WannaCry or “WannaCrypt” attack may give weight to their claims. In that action, TheShadowBrokers leaked hacking tools over the Internet believed to belong to the National Security Agency (NSA), which it had first attempted to auction off in August. This data release, in turn, birthed a bloom of malicious software across the globe, creating chaos and loss of service in hospitals, transportation systems, banks and government agencies in more than 150 countries.
WannaCry is a type of malware known as “ransomware,” in which the virus maintains control of the computer until a ransom is paid. The ransom was reported as $300 in bitcoins, which went up to $600 for victims who didn’t, or couldn’t pay within three days.
When The Guardian asked Peter Coroneos, former Internet Industry Association CEO and cybersecurity expert, whether users should pay the ransom, he said, “As a matter of principle, the answer should always be no… based on the simple dynamics of perpetuating bad conduct. However, as a matter of practicality and necessity, the situation is somewhat more complex.” At this point, the NSA still has not commented on TheShadowBrokers or the new threats.
“For half a century, [the] NSA pried into other people’s secrets. Now, they’re suddenly sitting ducks who have their secrets stolen and used around the world,” Amy B. Zegart, a Stanford Professor who focuses on Intelligence Agencies, told the New York Times.
The U.S. has also had to contend with leaks originating in the White House this spring, as news accumulates of President Trump revealing classified information to parties around the world. Notably, he relayed classified intel pertaining to ISIS with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. He also spoke freely with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte about the presence of two U.S. nuclear submarines near the Korean Peninsula.