Apparently, the Shadow Brokers are throwing in the towel on brokering shadow.
Just days after initiating an auction of Windows-based hacking tools that they claim come from the NSA-affiliated elite Equation Group team, as spotted by Heimdal Security, the group has announced its retirement in a petulant “message finale” lamenting its lack of bitcoin.
“So long, farewell peoples,” it reads. “TheShadowBrokers is going dark, making exit. Continuing is being much risk and [BS], not many bitcoins. TheShadowBrokers is deleting accounts and moving on so don’t be trying communications. Despite theories, it always being about bitcoins for TheShadowBrokers. Free dumps and bullshit political talk was being for marketing attention. There being no bitcoins in free dumps and giveaways. You are being disappointed? Nobody is being more disappointed than TheShadowBrokers.”
The plaintive tone and all-about-the-money attitude echoes its previous public communications. In August 2016, it sold a partial batch of code supposedly stolen from the NSA-linked Equation Group for 1,000 bitcoins—but, their efforts quickly descended into the realm of comedy as Dark Web denizens opted not to bid for the rest of the trove.
"TheShadowBrokers is not being interested in fame. TheShadowBrokers is selling to be making money," the hackers said in a disgruntled note posted on the auction page back in October, two months after it opened. "Expert peoples is saying Equation Group Firewall Tool Kit worth $1 million. TheShadowBrokers is wanting that $1 million."
For now, the group is leaving up its website which claims that, for a total price of 750 bitcoins (about $68,000 as of this writing), the buyer can purchase the entire database of hacking tools that The Equation Group uses to attack the Windows platform. It is also releasing a cache of an archive with 58 Windows hacking tools to the public, which Heimdal notes are fortunately detected by Kaspersky antivirus. The batch of tools can be downloaded from the group’s website, and requires quite the salty password.
This may not be the last anyone hears of the Shadow Brokers however. They said they would come out of hiding if their Bitcoin wallet received 10,000 BTC, which is about $8.3 million.