Malware, Content

The Shadow Brokers Threaten to Launch Hacker Subscription Service

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The Shadow Brokers (TSB), the hacker group that shared tools allegedly stolen from the U.S. National Security Agency, is threatening to make an encore appearance. Indeed, the group says it will publish more hacker tools in July -- though the price to get your hands on them will be about $22,000, Reuters said. The rather ominous twist: The service will be a subscription offering that features new data dumps on a monthly basis, the group alleged.

As their name suggests, The Shadow Brokers is clouded in mystery. The group first surfaced in mid-2016, and from time to time has leaked hacker tools apparently from the NSA. Among the most damaging moves: The group released some NSA hacking tools in April 2017, and those tools ultimately triggered the massive WannaCry ransomware outbreak in early May 2017.

Shortly after WannaCry emerged, The Shadow Brokers promised to release hacking tools every month. It also threatened to dump data from banks that leverage the SWIFT international money transfer network, Reuters reported at the time. SWIFT, which handles trillions of dollars in fund transfers daily, has been hacked multiple times, Reuters has noted.

Shadow Brokers: A Recurring Hacker Service?

So, will some sort of digital doomsday arrive in July -- with new digital bombs landing on IT systems every month thereafter? Just about everybody tracking the story notes there's no proof TSB has more tools to unleash on the world. But on the other hand, the group's April data dump caused plenty of problems with WannaCry.

No doubt, previous Shadow Brokers targets like the Microsoft Windows team and the SWIFT network are watching the situation closely. Some security companies are already repositioning their products and services to combat Shadow Brokers. For instance, STEALTHbits Technologies Inc. has launched a free Shadow Brokers Vulnerability Utility to identify unpatched systems. The utility performs a vulnerability assessment relative to the Shadow Brokers exploits, including those leveraged by the WannaCry ransomware, the company says.

Still, patching yesterday's holes is only part of the challenge. The big question involves the next round of exploits that The Shadow Brokers potentially have in mind...

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.