The hacker group calling itself “Shadow Brokers” has released another round of exploits and tools allegedly used by the NSA-linked threat actor “Equation Group,” along with a message to U.S. President Donald Trump.
Over the weekend, the group published the password to a previously released password-protected archive. An analysis of the files revealed the existence of various exploits and lists of organizations apparently targeted by the Equation Group.
Google Project Zero researcher Tavis Ormandy said one of the leaked exploits, dubbed EXACTCHANGE, relies on a Linux kernel vulnerability that can be exploited for local privilege escalation. Ormandy believes the Equation Group had the exploit “for years” before it was discovered by Google researchers in 2009.
An analysis conducted by Maksym Zaitsev showed that the leaked files include what appear to be Solaris exploits, a cross-platform RAT, Linux keyloggers, exploits targeting Cisco firewalls, system fingerprinting tools, an IP.Board exploit, and Apache and Samba zero-days affecting several Linux distributions.
A researcher who uses the online moniker “x0rz” also analyzed the latest dump and identified a tool that can clean logs (TOAST), a fake Chinese browser (ELECTRICSLIDE), and several GSM-related tools (CURSEHAPPY, EDITIONHAZE, LIQUIDSTEEL, SHAKENGIRAFFE, WHOLEBLUE). He also found evidence that the Equation Group had been looking for clues of attacks by other threat actors on compromised systems.
Experts also found lists of IP addresses and domain names that may belong to organizations targeted by the Equation Group, and they pointed out that victims include U.S. allies.
The Shadow Brokers had initially attempted to sell the exploits they obtained, but none of their strategies, including auctions and direct sale offers, was successful. While the group has now made available another batch of files for free, Zaitsev and others, including Edward Snowden, believe there are still some files that have not been released.
...much here that NSA should be able to instantly identify where this set came from and how they lost it. If they can't, it's a scandal.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) April 8, 2017
In a message they posted on Medium, the Shadow Brokers told President Trump that they are disappointed by his actions.
“TheShadowBrokers voted for you,” the hackers said. “TheShadowBrokers supports you. TheShadowBrokers is losing faith in you. Mr. Trump helping theshadowbrokers, helping you. Is appearing you are abandoning ‘your base’, ‘the movement’, and the peoples who getting you elected.”
The group has once again claimed that it is not connected to Russia, but they did say that Russia and Putin are the United States’ “best allies until the common enemies are defeated and America is great again.”
However, some people have pointed out that the timing of the leak is suspicious – it comes shortly after the U.S. decided to bomb Syria, which is an ally of Russia. Some experts had previously suggested that the Shadow Brokers is actually an English-speaking group.
While many of the exploits leaked previously by Shadow Brokers turned out to rely on old vulnerabilities, some companies, including Cisco, did identify some zero-days. It remains to be seen if tech companies confirm any unpatched flaws in the latest leaks.