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An alleged hack of the NSA-linked group, code-named Equation Group, is now being backed by WikiLeaks, who claim to already have the full copy of NSA cyberweapons in its possession that will be released “in due course.”
We had already obtained the archive of NSA cyber weapons released earlier today and will release our own pristine copy in due course.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 16, 2016
Equation Group was described as “the most advanced” threat cyberspace has ever seen when it was first discovered in 2015.
The hacker group known as “The Shadow Brokers” claimed this weekend to have breached the group and stolen its tools. The Shadow Brokers offered to sell the payload to the highest bidder or release it publicly for 1 million Bitcoin ($568 million).
The legitimacy of the leak is yet to be determined, but despite early silence and then skepticism, many experts are increasingly saying the dump could be the real deal. One popular theory is that it might have been taken from a command-and-control server several years ago.
It’s not yet clear when WikiLeaks got the archive or why it’s taking longer to release the “pristine copy,” which presumably means the entire thing. The Shadow Brokers released what they said was only a portion of the leak, demanding money on good faith for the rest.
After a day of guesses and speculation, WikiLeaks’s tweet both implicitly endorses the leak’s legitimacy and promises more solid information is coming.
Patrick Howell O'Neill is a notable cybersecurity reporter whose work has focused on the dark net, national security, and law enforcement. A former senior writer at the Daily Dot, O'Neill joined CyberScoop in October 2016. I am a cybersecurity journalist at CyberScoop. I cover the security industry, national security and law enforcement.