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Thursday, 25 May 2017 09:38

Shadow Brokers taking aim at govt hackers: report Featured


Members and ex-members of the NSA's hacking team are now being targeted by the Shadow Brokers group which leaked a number of alleged NSA exploits in April, some of which led to the recent WannaCry ransomware outbreak, it has been claimed.

The Wall Street Journal reported that ex-intelligence officials said the Brokers were exposing the names of hackers and this could expose these individuals to charges in other countries.

It cited a blogger named Marcy Wheeler who wrote that the Shadow Brokers had exposed the identities of four NSA people in the metadata of the exploits which were dumped in April.

But Wheeler added at the start of the post that she had not confirmed the names and IDs released in the dump were those of NSA hackers.

"It could be Shadow Brokers added names to cast blame on someone else. So throughout, take this as suspected doxing, with the possibility that it is, instead, disinformation," she wrote.

The WSJ reported that a fifth person, an ex-NSA employee named Jake Williams, had been under threat of public exposure in several public tweets sent by the Shadow Brokers, who had written an article speculating that the Brokers have links to Russia.

There is an unspoken agreement between governments that the names of state-employed hackers are kept from the public gaze, in order to avoid putting these individuals in difficulty when they travel abroad, as their activities could often contravene laws in other countries, it said, citing ex-intelligence officials.

But again, there was no certainty on this claim either, with the report citing the head of a cyber security company as saying that the Shadow Brokers could also have not bothered to redact the names because they simply didn't care about concealing what was sensitive information as far as the US government was concerned.

Williams told the newspaper that the Shadow Brokers was doing what the US had already done: revealed the names of hackers who worked for foreign countries.

In 2014, the DoJ indicted five people who worked for China's People's Liberation Army. And earlier this year, two Russian FSB officers were indicted along with two other hackers.

The Shadow Brokers has threatened further exposures next month and Williams fears that more information about him and other ex-government hackers may be released.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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