The files released by a hacker group that claims to have breached the NSA are authentic, whistleblower Edward Snowden has said, explaining the documents’ importance and potential impact on the US elections and relations with allies around the world.
Over the weekend, a mysterious group called Shadow Brokers posted“samples” of files purloined from the Equation Group – widely believed to be a front for the National Security Agency – and said it would sell the rest in exchange for bitcoin. The NSA has yet to comment on the authenticity of the files.
Snowden, who blew the whistle on NSA surveillance operations in 2013, posted a series of tweets on Tuesday with his take on the hack.
“NSA malware staging servers getting hacked by a rival is not new. A rival publicly demonstrating they have done so is,” the whistleblower wrote, adding, “I suspect this is more diplomacy than intelligence, related to the escalation around the DNC hack.”
A hacker calling himself Guccifer 2.0 has claimed to have breached the computers of the Democratic National Committee, releasing the first batch of documents on his blog in June. Just ahead of the party’s convention in July, WikiLeaks published even more files, whichGuccifer 2.0 says he provided. Last week, the hacker published phone numbers, emails and passwords of congressional Democrats as well. The DNC has blamed the Russian government for the hack, though.
Noting that “circumstantial evidence and conventional wisdom” have placed the blame for the hack on Russia, Snowden speculated that the Equation Group hack is “likely a warning that someone can prove US responsibility for any attacks that originated from this malware server.”