Shadow Brokers Release SWIFT Banking, Windows Exploits

Hotel Industry Using Government to Crush Airbnb

According to Motherboard, the most risky program in the release is an NSA program known as FUZZBUNCH, "a hacking suite or toolkit that contains several plug-and-play exploits to attack several versions of Windows operating system".

The NSA's official seal appeared on one of the slides in the presentation, although Reuters could not independently determine the authenticity of the slides.

Microsoft had already fixed a number of Windows security vulnerabilities before they were revealed last week by the Shadow Brokers - a group that has released several leaks about the inner workings of the National Security Agency. The group attempted to auction off the files but failed, and have been releasing portions of the stolen files in stages.

In case you missed it, hacking tools that were confirmed to belong to the NSA's so-called Equation Group were stolen past year in one of the biggest breaches of classified files since the Edward Snowden revelations.

The group Friday appeared to release tools created to target Windows PCs and servers, along with presentations and files purporting to detail the agency's methods of carrying out clandestine surveillance.

The documents released by the hackers did not clearly indicate whether the NSA had actually used all the techniques cited for monitoring SWIFT messages. Considering these were NSA's exploit tools in the first place, that meansthe intelligence agency could have alerted Microsoft about the vulnerabilities previous year, if it had wanted to do so.

The exploits, published by the Shadow Brokers yesterday, contained vulnerabilities in Windows computers and servers. There are trillions of dollars per day that get transferred through SWIFT, with over 11,000 banks and securities organizations in over 200 countries using SWIFT.

The question that will now trouble many in the security industry - regardless of Microsoft having potentially avoided a massive security disaster - is how the company knew about these exploits right before their public disclosure? While alarms are ringing about the USA government's ability to hack consumer PCs, Microsoft has fortunately come forward to clarify that Windows has already been patched to prevent use of these exploits. In some cases, coverage for specific tools or vulnerabilities was already available prior to today's information release.

The files, according to computer security analysts, also showed the NSA had found and exploited numerous vulnerabilities in a range of Microsoft Windows products widely used on computers around the world. Researchers were able to replicate some of the hacks.

Microsoft told CNNTech no one from the government had contacted it about the exploits listed in the dump.

"There is no impact on SWIFT's infrastructure or data, however we understand that communications between these service bureaus and their customers may previously have been accessed by unauthorized third parties".

The Al Quds Bank for Development and Investment, for example, was running a Windows 2008 server that at the time was vulnerable to newly disclosed Windows exploits, he said.

Microsoft reached out to Wired with a statement saying: "We are reviewing the report and will take the necessary actions to protect our customers".

Microsoft recently remarked that nearly all of the exploits have already been patched, while the remaining ones cannot reproduced on supported platforms.

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