The online exposure of some of the most powerful hacking tools developed by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) in recent days could threaten the agency's operations and the security of government and corporate computers.
Several former employees of NSA's Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division believe the 300-megabyte file is legitimate, and its leaking is likely the result of an error by an NSA operator and not a network hack by a foreign government. "Without a doubt, they're the keys to the kingdom," says one ex-TAO hacker. "The stuff you're talking about would undermine the security of a lot of major government and corporate networks both here and abroad."
Former TAO operator Blake Darche reports the exploits in the file are expensive and sophisticated software designed to hijack firewalls used "in the largest and most critical commercial, educational, and government agencies around the world."
Several exploits were code that leveraged zero-day weaknesses in firewalls that remain unpatched. Attached to the file cache was an "auction" note in which the group behind the disclosure, which calls itself the Shadow Brokers, said it would sell a second set of hacking tools to the highest bidder, and threatened to release the toolset publicly if the auction raised 1 million bitcoins (about $500 million).
From The Washington Post
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