Hackers demand a $600M ‘reward’ to spill more secret NSA docs

nsa hack hq
National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade CreativeTime Reports/Flickr
Speculation continues to run rampant about the extent and scale of the alleged hack that has affected the National Security Agency (NSA). Yesterday, it was reported that a new murky hacking collective, The Shadow Brokers, had infiltrated another hacking sect called The Equation Group, dumping its sensitive documents online over the weekend.

For a long time it has been believed that The Equation Group is linked to the NSA, according to a previous investigation by Kaspersky Lab that found data and code names from the group that matched NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden in 2013.

The Shadow Brokers are looking for a big reward though. The group claims that the documents released over the weekend, which revealed details on hacking exploits, are just the tip of the iceberg. The group is also demanding a “fee” — one million bitcoins or nearly $600 million — to release the rest of the documents that allegedly show how the NSA’s hacking tools (“cyber weapons”) and procedures work. In one case, the hackers claim the findings will be “better than Stuxnet.”

The group, whose location and nationality are unknown, made many of its claims on a now-deleted Tumblr blog.

Wired reports that the data that was released so far appears to show exploits that target services and equipment made by the likes of Cisco and Juniper.

Snowden himself has said he believes in the veracity of The Shadow Brokers. In a series of tweets, the whistleblower said it was likely that some “lazy” NSA agents left some of their data on the wrong server where it could be picked up. In this case, Snowden said this was probably the “malware staging server” for carrying out operations.

“The hack of an NSA malware staging server is not unprecedented, but the publication of the take is,” he said.

Snowden continued to theorize that the attackers could be a foreign force looking to gather evidence that the U.S. government was the one responsible for alleged hacking or surveillance incidents. “This leak is likely a warning that someone can prove U.S. responsibility for any attacks that originated from this malware server,” he wrote.

The alleged hack comes just weeks after the controversial Democratic National Committee hacking scandal.

So far the data that has been dumped appears to be a couple of years old, according to the security experts that have examined it. Dmitri Alperovitch, CTO of CrowdStrike, said he believes that the culprits have been holding the data for some time and waiting for the most opportune moment to leak it. It’s not clear what’s in the rest of the data they claim to have but a forthcoming presidential election is a pretty opportune time depending on what you’re trying to achieve.


Think iPhones can’t get viruses? Our expert explains why it could happen

If your iPhone has been acting strangely, then you may be concerned about the possibility it is infected with a virus or some malware. We take a look at just how likely that is and explain why iOS is considered relatively safe.

New Sony patent suggests a wireless PSVR headset could be on the way

Images and documents in the Japan Patent Office appear to suggest that Sony is planning a wireless version of the PlayStation VR headset. It isn't clear which system it will be used for.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: Free Solo, Catastrophe season 4, and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Free Solo documents an awe-inspiring climb, Catastrophe unveils its final season, and more.

Protecting your PDF with a password isn't difficult. Just follow these steps

If you need to learn how to password protect a PDF, you have come to the right place. This guide will walk you through the process of protecting your documents step-by-step, whether you're running a MacOS or Windows machine.

Nvidia’s A.I. Playground lets you edit photos, experience deep learning research

Nvidia is making it easier to access information on deep learning research. It has launched an online space with three demos for image editing, styling, as well as photorealistic image synthesis. 

Amazon and Nvidia bring artificial intelligence to the cloud with T4 GPUs

Nvidia announced the availability of new mainstream servers optimized to run the company's latest T4 GPUs with Turning architecture. Amazon jumped on board immediately, announcing that new AWS EC2 G4 instances will offer the technology.

Netgear’s new Nighthawk Tri-band AX12 router brings Wi-Fi 6 speeds to the masses

Available in May for $600, the Nighthawk Tri-band AX12 router allows for maximum Wi-Fi performance on smart home devices and offers everything needed for gaming, streaming, and other high-bandwidth applications. 

Calibrate your display to get it looking just the way you like it

Want to see images the way they're intended to be seen? Here is our quick guide on how to calibrate your monitor using your operating system or another tool, to make what's on the screen look as good as it can.

How to change your Gmail password in just a few quick steps

Regularly updating your passwords is a good way to stay secure online, but each site and service has their own way of doing it. Here's a quick guide on how to change your Gmail password in a few short steps.

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.
Home Theater

Smart speakers are about to get an IQ bump thanks to new Qualcomm chips

Qualcomm announced a new chipset that is designed to make the next generation of smart speakers sound, listen, and connect better than ever before, and it could soon be in your living room.

Reluctant to give your email address away? Here's how to make a disposable one

Want to sign up for a service without the risk of flooding your inbox with copious amounts of spam and unwanted email? You might want to consider using disposable email addresses via one of these handy services.

Don't take your provider's word for it. Here's how to test your internet speed

If you're worried that you aren't getting the most from your internet package, speed tests are a great way to find out what your real connection is capable of. Here are the best internet speed tests available today.

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

Though there are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, finding a solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here are the best PDF editors for your editing needs, no matter your budget or operating system.