Hackers and security experts are raising alarm over a massive cyberweapons dump that they say underscores the danger of government spy agencies developing intrusive surveillance tools.
On Friday, the hacking group Shadow Brokers released a cache of cyberweapons developed by the National Security Agency (NSA) to access computers that run on Microsoft Windows, a release described by Vice New's Motherboard as "the hacking equivalent of a bomb."
This means that any computer-savvy individual could download the tools and hack into any of the millions of personal Microsoft computers worldwide.
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"This is as big as it gets," security researcher and hacker Matthew Hickey told The Intercept's Sam Biddle after news of the release. "Nation-state attack tools are now in the hands of anyone who cares to download them…it's literally a cyberweapon for hacking into computers…people will be using these attacks for years to come."
Regardless, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said the release makes clear that the "'lawful access' debate is over," and the government's claim that "nobody but us" has access to these surveillance tools is moot.