Hackers auctioning NSA code disappointed in bidding

Hackers auctioning NSA code disappointed in bidding
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A hacker or hackers who stole source code for National Security Agency cyberweaponry is upset more people have not bid in an auction for the files.

While samples of the source code appear to be authentic, many still find the auction suspicious. The hackers, who call themselves TheShadowBrokers, only garnered around $1,000 in bids, well short of an announced $1 million aim. 

“Peoples is having interest in free files," said the hackers in an angrily worded post on Medium. “But people is no interest in #EQGRP_Auction TheShadowBrokers is thinking this is information communication problem.”

In mid-August, the Brokers announced it was auctioning off the code from the infamous Equation Group, believed to be affiliated with the NSA. Sample files released to drum up interest in the auction contained an identification code mentioned in previously unreleased Edward Snowden files as well as previously unknown, unpatched techniques to circumvent a range of popular security hardware. 


Reuters reported last month that an FBI investigation into the breach has found the code was likely stolen when an operator accidentally left it unsecured on an offsite server. 

But irregularities in the auction process have made it difficult to take seriously. The Brokers announced that in lieu of traditional bidding, the winner will be whoever sends the most money to an official bitcoin account — with no refunds to the losers. 

There is no end date to the auction; the group claims it will send the code to the winner whenever it feels like it has received a fair price. 

In the Medium message, the Brokers argued their abnormal auction format made sense. 

“How you sell secrets? Making most money? Quickly? Least amount effort? Maintaining anonymity? You be making suggestion #EQGRP_Auction,” wrote the hackers.

“TheShadowBrokers is not being interested in fame. TheShadowBrokers is selling to be making money and you peoples is never hearing from TheShadowBrokers again! TheShadowBrokers is being disappointed peoples no seeing novelty of auction solution. Auction is design for to make benefit TheShadowBrokers.”

Much of the message was written as a Q-and-A format to alleviate various concerns, in a tone that grew increasingly exasperated as the message continued. 

“Q: Why no expiration?

“A: Holy [expletive] [expletive], so many [expletive] rules with you peoples. What is being benefit time constraint? Anticipate end when reasonable sum raised and bidding stops.” 

The Medium post did little to assuage a second concern many experts had about the auction’s veracity: the Brokers have only communicated in messages that appear, to some, to be written in deliberately stilted English.