by Liam J Kelly
The Shadow Brokers release another announcement via social media site Steemit addressing a price adjustment, ThePeoples, The Equation Group, and Matt Suiche.
On October 16, the notorious hacker group The Shadow Brokers published a price adjustment for “all current, future, and past data dumps.” The data dumps referring to a monthly collection of data made by the group which could include anything from web browser exploits to compromised network data from international missile programs. Since June the group has been posting teasers about the contents of each month’s data content, with the first post indicating the means to buy the data (with zcash) complete with a z-address.
In June, a data dump by The Shadow Brokers cost 100 ZEC (worth $23,200 at the time of writing), but the recent update this month indicates that all data dumps will now be sold at 500 ZEC. The June dump remains at 100 ZEC, however, because it was initially posted at this price. Along with the bump in price, the group also spoke to three separate, yet interconnected, parties.
The post is opened with a series of rhetorical questions directed at citizens, which can be safely assumed as those of the United States. The cultural references, despite the deliberately mangled syntax, points to most likely an American audience. Plus, the information that is being bartered would be highly interesting to American governments, newspapers, securities agencies, and the like.
As a first directive, they dangle the potential capacity to determine what is true in regards to Russian hackers and Russian security companies. They released the fact that “new moneys is being in US government budgets for making information warfares payments,” thus upping the group’s notoriety. The fact that the US government would now be dispensing taxpayer money to fight a war against information puts The Shadow Brokers in an augmented position of power. They also seem upset that, “ThePeoples is no believing. ThePeoples is got jokes.”
The latter half of the address to ‘ThePeoples’ puts into question their definition of liberty. It reminds them that perhaps there are still a number of news sources keeping, “the most important part of storieses,” with a direct reference to the Wall Street Journal. The article in question was written on October 11 and refers to Russian hackers using anti-virus software from Kaspersky Lab as a vehicle for spying. With this thought made clear, the logical conclusion moves from international targets to domestic to groups of individuals, all the way down to individuals. Freedom of the press is being strangled on all levels, and they reduce freedom to a question of “The Controllers vs. The Controlled.”
Hello TheEquationGroup and The Partners
If you haven’t been following along, The Shadow Brokers have also developed a relationship with the NSA linked utilities function called the Equation Group. Though the connection hasn’t been confirmed, Kaspersky has ironically been responsible for linking the two parties. In any case, their relevancy to The Shadow Brokers is that the latter holds sensitive information about the former.
They directly address the Equation Group and threaten to move along slowly and to drag things out, or they can pay the Shadow Brokers $10 million in cryptocurrency for all their data upfront. They follow up with methods to transfer these funds without using taxpayer money, further indicating a moral undertone to the group’s seemingly entrepreneurial incentives.
Co-Founder of CloudVolumes Critiqued and The Empty Wheel
The final portion of the price adjustment announcement on Steemit attacks French entrepreneur and hacker Matt Suiche, who helped to launch CloudVolumes. The comments refer to a presentation Suiche gave at Black Hat 2017, a particular ‘hot reporter lady,’ and the definition of the Shadow Brokers favorite holiday of the year. They conclude with a positive remark about Marcy “EmptyWheel” Wheeler; the independent journalist who focuses primarily on national security and civil liberties, and presents a different narrative on the Kaspersky story than the mainstream media, was praised as “what true journalist and journalism is looking like.”
With the price bump to 500 ZEC, the Shadow Brokers are now asking interested parties in paying roughly $113,000 to have access to the already slow-leaking information. The data warfare has thus begun, and according to The Shadow Brokers, only the highest bidder will be victorious.
This article was updated October 22.