NSA's powerful Windows hacking tools leaked online

The Shadow Brokers is a group of anonymous hackers that published hacking tools used by the NSA past year.

The tools appear legitimate, he said, and at least one of the zero-day exploits in the release still works against Windows Server 2013. "TheShadowBrokers rather being getting drunk with McAfee on desert island with hot babes", the group wrote in a post announcing the file release.

Likely originating with the NSA, the tools give new clues as to the group's targets in recent years, which seem to include both global anti-money-laundering groups and oil companies in the Persian Gulf region.

"This leak basically puts nation-state tools into the hands of anyone who wants them", said Matthew Hickey, the director of security provider Hacker House. Like both previous Shadow Brokers dumps, this batch contains vulnerabilities that the NSA clearly did not disclose even after the tools were stolen.

Meanwhile, most of the exploits in the dump appear to be centered around the SWIFT Alliance Access (SAA), a financial messaging interface that is used by banks across the globe.

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The group's latest release, dubbed 'Lost in Translation, ' lists Qatar First Investment Bank, Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange and Tadhamon International Islamic Bank as allegedly compromised.

"It's an absolute disaster", Hickey said in an email to AP.

Microsoft said that it is "reviewing the report and will take the necessary actions to protect our customers". The dump caused an immediate "cyber panic" and saw the infosec community scrambling to make sense of the immediate and long-term damages that could be caused on users, with many security experts claiming that the leaks expose the true extent of NSA's surveillance.

Most of the exploits are targeted at older versions of Windows, with the newest seemingly targeting Windows 8.

This dump also provides significant ammunition for those concerned with the USA government developing and keeping 0-day exploits.

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Analysts generally accepted the leaked files came from the NSA.

The Windows hacking tools may have been used to target the SWIFT financial security system, specifically an anti-money laundering financial institution called EastNets.

The released may also cause substantial diplomatic fallout, as the US government's access to SWIFT has always been controversial.

EastNets ran a "complete check of its servers and found no hacker compromise or any vulnerabilities", according to a statement from EastNets' chief executive and founder, Hazem Mulhim. Kevin Beaumont, who has been working tirelessly to fill in the blanks, says he thinks numerous vulnerabilities, including those that affect Windows XP, 2003, Vista, 7, and 8, are zero-day.

A spokesperson for the SWIFT banking system told FCW in a statement that SWIFT was aware of reports that two third-party service bureaus might have been accessed, but SWIFT itself was not compromised.

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"Customers should proactively keep an eye out for this, and of course have a strategy to patch them" when a patch becomes available, Sarwate said.


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