Online Hacker Forums

Really interesting article about online hacker forums, especially the politics that goes on in them.

Clearly enterprising and given to posting rambling messages explaining his strategic thinking, Iceman grew CardersMarket's membership to 1,500. On Aug. 16, he hacked into four rival forums' databases, electronically extracted their combined 4,500 members, and in one stroke quadrupled CardersMarket's membership to 6,000, according to security experts who monitored the takeovers.

The four hijacked forums -- DarkMarket, TalkCash, ScandinavianCarding and TheVouched -- became inaccessible to their respective members. Shortly thereafter, all of the historical postings from each of those forums turned up integrated into the CardersMarket website.

To make that happen, Iceman had to gain access to each forum's underlying database, tech-security experts say. Iceman boasted in online postings that he took advantage of security flaws lazily left unpatched. CardCops' Clements says he probably cracked weak database passwords. "Somehow he got through to those servers to grab the historical postings and move them to CardersMarket," he says.

Iceman lost no time touting his business rationale and hyping the benefits. In a posting on CardersMarket shortly after completing the takeovers he wrote: "basically, (sic) this was long overdue ... why (sic) have five different forums each with the same content, splitting users and vendors, and a mish mash of poor security and sometimes poor administration?"

He dispatched an upbeat e-mail to new members heralding CardersMarket's superior security safeguards. The linchpin: a recent move of the forum's host computer server to Iran, putting it far beyond the reach of U.S. authorities. He described Iran as "possibly the most politically distant country to the united states (sic) in the world today."

Posted on October 23, 2006 at 2:54 PM • 18 Comments


jmcOctober 23, 2006 3:36 PM

So does this mean Iran is now considered a save haven for all "unconventional thinkers" and "free minds"?
This would be funny if it wasn't so very sad...

BLPOctober 23, 2006 3:43 PM

Of course, it could have been some clever branch of who pulled off the hackings, and are of course now safely watching everything that goes on. Much easier to watch one hacker message board than 5.

BLPOctober 23, 2006 3:50 PM

heh. HTML filter filtered out part of that last comment.

(tinfoil hat)
Of course, it could have been some clever branch of (random government or anti-blackhat NGO) who pulled off the hackings and are of course now safely watching everything that goes on. Much easier to watch one hacker message board than 5.
(/tinfoil hat)

RyanOctober 23, 2006 5:05 PM

The problem with moving servers to Iran is that the penalty for theft in Muslim countries is typically much harsher than it is in the West. Losing a hand is not preferable to spending a few years in a "country club" (as minumum security prisons for white-collar crime are often called).

swiss connectionOctober 24, 2006 2:59 AM

Hacking must be a full time occupation; I bet these guys only leave the computer to go pee. I presume they are well heeled and/or use their skills to earn money illicitly. Apart from the addictive component inevitably attached to such activity, I feel in same strange inverted way, they do a great service to the community at large.

ChrisOctober 24, 2006 9:14 AM

RE: Ryan

While muslim countries may exact a more severe punishment for those convicted of thefts, the hackers aren't in Iran. Most likely they have absolutely no plans to ever visit there, fly over there, etc. Only the computer, an expendable resource, is. Their goal is simply to place the machine's data outside the reach of those most likely to confiscate it: US law enforcement. The FBI isn't going to have much luck asking the Iranian government to pretty please with sugar on top pack up a computer and ship it to Quantico. The Iranians might even be content to leave the server in place just because it's a thorn in our side.

Davi OttenheimerOctober 24, 2006 1:12 PM

Well, it just goes to show a market is always susceptible to intense competition, leading to corruption and theft; even black markets. Reminds me of that case about the trucking companies from a couple years ago:

" used many mechanisms to acquire data from the website. Initially, they just copied the most current lists of unmatched drivers and loads. When Truckstop started using user IDs and passwords, Getloaded did the same. Reasoning correctly that truckers using both sites would create the same userid's and passwords, Getloaded officials logged into Truckstop's site using their customers' IDs. Then they registered a defunct company as a subscriber as another route to getting access to the data.

But this wasn't enough. As the court of appeals noted: "Getloaded's officers also hacked into the code Creative used to operate its website. Microsoft had distributed a patch to prevent a hack it had discovered, but Creative Computing had not yet installed the patch on Getloaded's president and vice-president hacked into Creative Computing's website through the back door that this patch would have locked."

"G152xx"October 25, 2006 11:06 AM

Re: video in walker's link: the "tips" post review cracked me up... vo: "all of these TOOLS that he is recommending to actually HACK into people's information!" and the post is talking about absolutely generic stuff, links to firefox extensions for editing referrers and watching traffic.

.. tho i suppose i would find it a little scary if i overheard two guys talking about the skull-bashing properties of this hammer or that at the hw store.

John AtkinsOctober 30, 2006 2:17 PM

Whether tragic events touch your family personally or are brought into your home via newspapers and television, you can help children cope with the anxiety that violence, death, and disasters can cause.

Listening and talking to children about their concerns can reassure them that they will be safe. Start by encouraging them to discuss how they have been affected by what is happening around them. Even young children may have specific questions about tragedies. Children react to stress at their own developmental level.

The Caring for Every Child's Mental Health Campaign offers these pointers for parents and other caregivers:

* Encourage children to ask questions. Listen to what they say. Provide comfort and assurance that address their specific fears. It's okay to admit you can't answer all of their questions.
* Talk on their level. Communicate with your children in a way they can understand. Don't get too technical or complicated.
* Find out what frightens them. Encourage your children to talk about fears they may have. They may worry that someone will harm them at school or that someone will try to hurt you.
* Focus on the positive. Reinforce the fact that most people are kind and caring. Remind your child of the heroic actions taken by ordinary people to help victims of tragedy.
* Pay attention. Your children's play and drawings may give you a glimpse into their questions or concerns. Ask them to tell you what is going on in the game or the picture. It's an opportunity to clarify any misconceptions, answer questions, and give reassurance.
* Develop a plan. Establish a family emergency plan for the future, such as a meeting place where everyone should gather if something unexpected happens in your family or neighborhood. It can help you and your children feel safer.

If you are concerned about your child's reaction to stress or trauma, call your physician or a community mental health center.

Angga SyafutraApril 22, 2007 3:03 AM

I,m supposed to be and i,m alone right now,other people seem trouble if seen me whatever i,m where and mass replication of my tech is on that other people and then for that problem,i want to become an ultimate hacker

anglzgrl01November 23, 2007 4:05 PM

Hoping someone out htere can help me. "I have this friend" (seriously) who is being stalked. The stalker has created a screenname (similiar to the real one but transposed two letters) and profile w/ his pic. The stalker impersonates him online, going into m4m chatrooms, gives out his phone # and address. These men now appear at his front door. The stalker somehow got a picture of a very personal nature that my friend sent via email. The stalker has contacted people from both the sender's and receiver's address books and emailed them the pic. Bottom line, the stalker is making my friend's life a living hell.

AOL will do nothing. The police begrudgingly took a report but are doing nothing. There has to be a way to figure out who this is and how they were able to get into the emails.

I watch all these cop shows/ legal dramas on TV, I know ther ehas to be a way to find out who is doing this.

Comments on this entry have been closed.

Photo of Bruce Schneier by Per Ervland.

Schneier on Security is a personal website. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of IBM Resilient.