As if cryptocurrencies needed to draw any more fire from governments and criminal authorities, now there is a major new story linking the topic to espionage and cyber warfare. A mysterious group is now auctioning off state-grade hacking tools to be paid in everyone’s favorite terror financing and money laundering scapegoat – Bitcoin.
Calling themselves “The Shadow Brokers”, the previously unheard of outfit claim to have hacked into the “Equation Group” – an alleged U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) linked team which the Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab called “one of the most sophisticated cyber attack groups in the world,” and “the most advanced threat actor we have seen.”
The Shadow Brokers have released malware, private exploits, and hacking tools allegedly belonging to the Equation Group, which some cybersecurity experts believe confirms that the fearsome NSA has indeed been compromised. They are offering the rest of the files they have acquired for one million Bitcoin (about $565 million at the current price level).
It needs to be said that such an exuberant amount of Bitcoin will be very hard to buy without pushing the exchange rate sky high as liquidity will rapidly deplete. But of course, an NSA-level organization can also try other options to acquire it like a 51% attack that will give it control over the blockchain or to find and take the sum from the only man who owns a million Bitcoin, its creator “Satoshi Nakamoto”, thus dispelling the mystery.
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The Tumbler page for the auction has already been taken offline but archived versions are still accessible on the internet. Here are some of the messages the auction page contained (strong language warning):
Equation Group Cyber Weapons Auction – Invitation
!!! Attention government sponsors of cyber warfare and those who profit from it !!!!
How much you pay for enemies cyber weapons? Not malware you find in networks. Both sides, RAT + LP, full state sponsor tool set? We find cyber weapons made by creators of stuxnet, duqu, flame. Kaspersky calls Equation Group. We follow Equation Group traffic. We find Equation Group source range. We hack Equation Group. We find many many Equation Group cyber weapons. You see pictures. We give you some Equation Group files free, you see. This is good proof no? You enjoy!!! You break many things. You find many intrusions. You write many words. But not all, we are auction the best files.
We auction best files to highest bidder. Auction files better than stuxnet. Auction files better than free files we already give you. The party which sends most bitcoins to address: 19BY2XCgbDe6WtTVbTyzM9eR3LYr6VitWK before bidding stops is winner, we tell how to decrypt. Very important!!! When you send bitcoin you add additional output to transaction. You add OP_Return output. In Op_Return output you put your (bidder) contact info. We suggest use bitmessage or I2P-bote email address. No other information will be disclosed by us publicly. Do not believe unsigned messages. We will contact winner with decryption instructions. Winner can do with files as they please, we not release files to public.
!!! Attention Wealthy Elites !!!
We have final message for “Wealthy Elites”. We know what is wealthy but what is Elites? Elites is making laws protect self and friends, lie and fuck other peoples. Elites is breaking laws, regular peoples go to jail, life ruin, family ruin, but not Elites. Elites is breaking laws, many peoples know Elites guilty, Elites call top friends at law enforcement and government agencies, offer bribes, make promise future handjobs, (but no blowjobs). Elites top friends announce, no law broken, no crime commit. Reporters (not call journalist) make living say write only nice things about Elites, convince dumb cattle, is just politics, everything is awesome, check out our ads and our prostitutes. Then Elites runs for president. Why run for president when already control country like dictatorship? What this have do with fun Cyber Weapons Auction? We want make sure Wealthy Elite recognizes the danger cyber weapons, this message, our auction, poses to their wealth and control. Let us spell out for Elites. Your wealth and control depends on electronic data. You see what “Equation Group” can do. You see what cryptolockers and stuxnet can do. You see free files we give for free. You see attacks on banks and SWIFT in news. Maybe there is Equation Group version of cryptolocker+stuxnet for banks and financial systems? If Equation Group lose control of cyber weapons, who else lose or find cyber weapons? If electronic data go bye bye where leave Wealthy Elites? Maybe with dumb cattle? “Do you feel in charge?” Wealthy Elites, you send bitcoins, you bid in auction, maybe big advantage for you?