“Twelve Monkeys” (1995) is about time-travel, the Cassandra complex, and how
the Army of the Twelve Monkeys unleashed a deadly virus on humanity.

Here’s a summary of an in-depth article published yesterday by Scott Shane, Nicole Perloth, and David Sanger of the New York Times.

For the full article, see: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/12/us/nsa-shadow-brokers.html

  • Edward Snowden’s cascade of disclosures to journalists and his defiant public stance drew far more media coverage than the Shadow Brokers’ disclosures, which began in August 2016. But Mr. Snowden released code words, while the Shadow Brokers have released the actual code; if he shared what might be described as battle plans, they have loosed the weapons themselves.
  • Those sophisticated cyberweapons have now been picked up by hackers from North Korea to Russia and shot back at the United States and its allies.
  • The [WannaCry and Not Petya] attacks [based on an N.S.A exploit called EternalBlue] disrupted production at a car plant in France, an oil company in Brazil and a chocolate factory in Tasmania, among thousands of enterprises affected worldwide.
  • Experts believe more attacks using the stolen N.S.A. tools are all but certain.
  • Compounding the pain for the N.S.A. is the attackers’ regular online public taunts, written in ersatz broken English [The CyberWire describes it as “mangled English like a bad scriptwriter doing Ensign Chekhov fan-fiction”]. One passage, possibly hinting at the Shadow Brokers’ identity, underscored the close relationship of Russian intelligence to criminal hackers. “Russian security peoples,” it said, “is becoming Russian hackeres at nights, but only full moons.”
  • On Aug. 13 last year, a new Twitter account using the Shadow Brokers’ name announced with fanfare an online auction of stolen N.S.A. hacking tools. “We hack Equation Group,” the Shadow Brokers wrote. “We find many many Equation Group cyber weapons.”
  • Long known mainly as an eavesdropping agency, the N.S.A. has embraced hacking as an especially productive way to spy on foreign targets. The intelligence collection is often automated, with malware implants — computer code designed to find material of interest — left sitting on the targeted system for months or even years, sending files back to the N.S.A. The same implant can be used for many purposes: to steal documents, tap into email, subtly change data or become the launching pad for an attack. It was this cyberarsenal that the Shadow Brokers got hold of, and then began to release.
  • T.A.O.’s [the N.S.A.’s Tailored Access Operations, aka the Equation Group] most public success was an operation against Iran called Olympic Games, in which implants in the network of the Natanz nuclear plant caused centrifuges enriching uranium to self-destruct. The T.A.O. was also critical to attacks on the Islamic State and North Korea.
  • Lurking in the background of the Shadow Brokers investigation is American officials’ strong belief that it is a Russian operation. The pattern of dribbling out stolen documents over many months, they say, echoes the slow release of Democratic emails purloined by Russian hackers last year.
  • But there is a more specific back story to the United States-Russia cyber rivalry. Starting in 2014, American cybersecurity researchers who had been tracking Russia’s state-sponsored hacking groups for years began to expose them in a series of research reports. American firms, including Symantec, CrowdStrike and FireEye, reported that Moscow was behind certain cyberattacks and identified government-sponsored Russian hacking groups.
  • In the meantime, Russia’s most prominent cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Lab, had started work on a report that would turn the tables on the United States. Kaspersky hunted for the spying malware planted by N.S.A. hackers, guided in part by the keywords and code names in the files taken by Mr. Snowden. American officials believe Russian intelligence was piggybacking on Kaspersky’s efforts to find and retrieve the N.S.A.’s secrets wherever they could be found. When Kaspersky updated its popular antivirus software to find and block the N.S.A. malware, it could thwart N.S.A. spying operations around the world.