Shadow Brokers, the hacking group that claimed to have cracked a US National Security Agency cache of illicit security services' malware, have given up their auction - and decided to give away many of the tools instead.
The group gave up their attempt to sell the portfolio of tools, linked to an NSA front security reportedly called ‘Equation Group', in a message late on Thursday evening.
The group admitted that it hadn't proved to be as profitable a venture as hoped, and claimed that it had been too much "risk and bullshit, not many bitcoin". It was always, the message added, about making money with "free dumps and bullshit politic[s]… for marketing attention".
The group provided a link to 58 of the tools they claim to have dredged from a cracked server operated by the NSA, with the promise that crossing their palms with a total of 750 bitcoin (about £500,000) would release the entire portfolio of tools.
On the download page, the message continued: "The Shadow Brokers is trying auction. Peoples no like. The Shadow Brokers is trying crowdfunding. Peoples is no liking. Now The Shadow Brokers is trying direct sales. Be checking out ListOfWarez. If you like, you email The Shadow Brokers with name of Warez you want make purchase."
The page also contained a price list in bitcoin for any deep-pocketed online miscreants or would-be NSA agents.
Unfortunately, most of the tools the group have released are already detected by Kaspersky Anti-Virus and, presumably, most other anti-virus software packages - although the current list doesn't seem to include any US- or UK-based security companies for some reason.
The veracity of Shadow Brokers' claims that the hacking tools are of NSA origin was backed up by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in August last year.
The fall-out from the group's sudden appearance affected both Cisco, the world's largest computer networking company, and security software and appliance maker Fortinet.
Cisco was forced to admit that some of Shadow Brokers' illicit malware was capable of compromising the security of its products, used by telecoms companies and internet service providers around the world; while Fortinet warned in an advisory that firmware in its FortiGate product was insecure unless users update the firmware.
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