Malware allegedly made by the US National Security Agency (NSA) has been released by a hacker group called Shadow Brokers.
The hacking group released a password which unlocks an encrypted cache of hacking tools, with the group saying that the publishing of the password was a ‘protest’ against US President Trump. The group had earlier tried to sell the cache of tools in an online auction, but instead released the password via a blog in efforts to help “America be great again”.
Among other criticism’s of the new US government under Trump, the group also slammed “[Steve] Bannon’s removal from the [National Security Council]” and the “US military strike on Syria”.
Also included in the release was a list of alleged NSA hacking targets and the malware apparently targeting them. Some experts have suggested that the group may have links with the Russian government. This of course comes at a time of great political tension between the two Cold War rivals, with the US and Russia coming ever-closer to conflict over missile attacks in Syria.
Rendition Infosec CEO Jake Williams is just one expert who firmly believes that the release of the password is being engineered from Russia, saying:
“Russia is likely using the latest Shadow Brokers release to attempt to control the news cycle and take coverage away from the Syria conflict. Yesterday, in a political rant using broken English, the Shadow Brokers released the password for the encrypted zip file they seeded last year.”
“The general consensus is that Russia is behind the Shadow Brokers dumps. Some have been reluctant to identify Russia as the most likely culprit for the attacks, but other media outlets have openly said Russia is the culprit. For the remainder of this post, we’ll capitulate that Russia is probably behind the Shadow Brokers hacks. Even Snowden said months ago that circumstantial evidence supports the Russia theory.”
However, the hackers themselves have refuted this link with Russia, saying:
“For peoples still being confused about TheShadowBrokers and Russia. If theshadowbrokers being Russian don’t you think we’d be in all those U.S. government reports on Russian hacking? TheShadowBrokers isn’t not fans of Russia or Putin but “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” We recognize Americans’ having more in common with Russians than Chinese or Globalist or Socialist. Russia and Putin are nationalist and enemies of the Globalist, examples: NATO encroachment and Ukraine conflict. Therefore Russia and Putin are being best allies until the common enemies are defeated and America is great again.”
The debate over Russia’s involvement in US hacking will be further fueled by news that a Russian has been arrested in Spain over US election hacking.
According to Spanish reports, Pyotr Levashov was arrested on April 7 in Barcelona and has been remanded in custody. A ‘legal source’ cited by the AFP news agency said that Mr Levashov was the subject of an extradition request by the US. Although President Trump said that the election result was not affected, a January intelligence report alleged that Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to help Mr Trump to victory.