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The Shadow Brokers wanted 1 million bitcoins. But they got paid in something else.
The group that this week leaked NSA-linked cyberweapons online hasn’t managed to rake in the Bitcoin fortune they demanded for additional leaks, but they did get paid in another internet-based currency: trolling.
A mysterious entity calling itself the Shadow Brokers published multiple exploits that they claim were stolen from the Equation Group, a powerful hacking team linked the to the National Security Agency. The group is offering more exploits via a Bitcoin auction, and they are demanding a payment of 1 million bitcoin, or about $5.7 million.
So far, the Shadow Brokers have only received a fraction of a bitcoin (0.08066178 BTC, to be exact) at the time of this writing—that’s equal to roughly $46. What they received instead, Motherboard reports, is a good ol’ fashioned Rickroll.
Through the clever use of Bitcoin addresses, a prankster spelled out the key lyrics to Rick Astley’s timeless classic “Never Gonna Give You Up.”
Adding to the old school internet joke, the prankster made each transaction worth 0.001337 BTC, in homage to leet, the now-cliche code of spelling things out using numbers in place of letters.
While this may be a joke, experts are taking the leak itself extremely seriously. The NSA and the FBI are likely to investigate the hack, which has left at least one multibillion dollar firm and its clients vulnerable to attack.
Andrew Couts is the former editor of Layer 8, a section dedicated to the intersection of the Internet and the state—and the gaps in between. Prior to the Daily Dot, Couts served as features editor and features writer for Digital Trends, associate editor of TheWeek.com, and associate editor at Maxim magazine. When he’s not working, Couts can be found hiking with his German shepherds or blasting around on motorcycles.