Was the N.S.A. Hacked? A group calling itself The Shadow Brokers [Google cache], widely supposed to actually be Russian state-backed hackers, released an archive of purported NSA Tailored Access Operations/'Equation Group' malware, including zero-day exploits on commercial routers. NSA insiders confirm likely legitimacy. The archive dates to mid-2013, shortly after the Snowden revelations, leading him and others to ponder whether the resulting cleanup operation shut out the hackers. Schneier guesses the timing was meant to signal the Obama administration against sanctions for the DNC hack.
“On the one hand the government is freaking out about cyber-security, and on the other the U.S. is participating in a global market in vulnerabilities and pushing up the prices,” says Soghoian, who says he has spoken with people involved in the trade and that prices range from the thousands to the hundreds of thousands. Even civilian law-enforcement agencies pay for zero-days, Soghoian says, in order to sneak spy software onto suspects’ computers or mobile phones.