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Pulsar Vulnerability
Technical name
FamilyPulsar (backdoor family)
Author(s)Equation Group

DoublePulsar is a backdoor implant tool developed by the U.S. National Security Agency's (NSA) Equation Group that was leaked by The Shadow Brokers in early 2017.[3][citation needed] The tool infected more than 200,000 Microsoft Windows computers in only a few weeks,[4][5][3][6][7] and was used alongside EternalBlue in the May 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack.[8][9][10] A variant of DoublePulsar was first seen in the wild in March 2016, as discovered by Symantec.[11]

Sean Dillon, senior analyst of security company RiskSense Inc., first dissected and inspected DoublePulsar.[12][13] He said that the NSA exploits are "10 times worse" than the Heartbleed security bug, and use DoublePulsar as the primary payload. DoublePulsar runs in kernel mode, which grants cybercriminals a high level of control over the computer system.[5] Once installed, it uses three commands: ping, kill, and exec, the latter of which can be used to load malware onto the system.[12]


  1. ^ "Trojan.Darkpulsar". Archived from the original on 3 October 2019.
  2. ^ "Win32/Equation.DarkPulsar.A | ESET Virusradar".
  3. ^ a b "DoublePulsar malware spreading rapidly in the wild following Shadow Brokers dump". 25 April 2017.
  4. ^ Sterling, Bruce. "Double Pulsar NSA leaked hacks in the wild". Wired.
  5. ^ a b "Seriously, Beware the 'Shadow Brokers'". Bloomberg. 4 May 2017 – via
  6. ^ "Wana Decrypt0r Ransomware Using NSA Exploit Leaked by Shadow Brokers Is on a Rampage".
  7. ^ ">10,000 Windows computers may be infected by advanced NSA backdoor". 21 April 2017.
  8. ^ Cameron, Dell (13 May 2017). "Today's Massive Ransomware Attack Was Mostly Preventable; Here's How To Avoid It".
  9. ^ Fox-Brewster, Thomas. "How One Simple Trick Just Put Out That Huge Ransomware Fire". Forbes.
  10. ^ "Player 3 Has Entered the Game: Say Hello to 'WannaCry'". 12 May 2017. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  11. ^ "Stolen NSA hacking tools were used in the wild 14 months before Shadow Brokers leak". 7 May 2019. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  12. ^ a b "DoublePulsar Initial SMB Backdoor Ring 0 Shellcode Analysis". 21 April 2017. Retrieved 2017-05-16.
  13. ^ "NSA's DoublePulsar Kernel Exploit In Use Internet-Wide". Retrieved 2017-05-16.