Researchers shut down crowdfunding campaign for Shadowbrokers dump

The security researchers who recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to buy the June Shadowbrokers dump have halted the action. The intention was to investigate the dump for vulnerabilities and report them to manufacturers.

Both researchers, Hacker Fantastic and x0rz, have published their own statement explaining the decision. They say that there were legal reasons to stop the campaign. Hacker Fantastic, whose real name is Matthew Hickey and co-founder of the security firm Hacker House, writes, “If you ever want to hear a lawyer yell into a phone, tell them you’ve started a public cyber-weapon crowdfunding campaign.”

Colleagues and friends of Hickey who work for investigative services are also said to have warned him to abandon his plans. Although ethical and legal concerns have divided the security community about the campaign, Hickey says he still thinks it’s a good idea to buy the dump and responsibly report any leaks. Researcher x0rz also writes that he is withdrawing for legal reasons.

The Patreon campaign aimed to raise $25,000 and buy the Shadowbrokers dump that will be published in June. It is not clear what its content will be, although the group has previously provided some hints.