Brian Krebs

Nice profile of Brian Krebs, cybersecurity journalist:

Russian criminals routinely feed Mr. Krebs information about their rivals that they obtained through hacks. After one such episode, he began receiving daily calls from a major Russian cybercriminal seeking his files back. Mr. Krebs is writing a book about the ordeal, called “Spam Nation,” to be published by Sourcebooks this year.

In the meantime, hackers have been competing in a dangerous game of one-upmanship to see who can pull the worst prank on Mr. Krebs. They often steal his identity. One opened a $20,000 credit line in his name. Admirers have made more than $1,000 in bogus PayPal donations to his blog using hacked accounts. Others have paid his cable bill for three years with stolen credit cards.

The antics can be dangerous. In March, as Mr. Krebs was preparing to have his mother over for dinner, he opened his front door to find a police SWAT team pointing semiautomatic guns in his direction. Only after his wife returned home from the grocery store to find him handcuffed did the police realize Mr. Krebs had been the victim of “swatting.” Someone had called the police and falsely reported a murder at their home.

Four months after that, someone sent packets of heroin to Mr. Krebs’s home, then spoofed a call from his neighbor to the police. But Mr. Krebs had already been tipped off to the prank. He was tracking the fraud in a private forum—where a criminal had posted the shipment’s tracking number ­- and had alerted the local police and the F.B.I.

Posted on February 20, 2014 at 4:09 PM11 Comments


Teksquisite February 20, 2014 8:25 PM

Krebs does some serious investigative reporting (that could piss the wrong people off) – and it concerns me that his home address is known. The tree incident (cut down last year in his front yard) could get far worse. His family could come under attack. Considering the type of reporting that he is involved in – I would move to an undisclosed location and get a PO Box. I would not even list my real home address on my drivers license or at the PO either…

Yadabada February 20, 2014 10:25 PM

I’m not a fan of Krebs’ tacit support for comparisons of DDOS attacks to “someone placing a brick on your car’s gas pedal and having the car drive itself into a wall”.

I strongly oppose any comparison of acts on the Internet to acts in real life when significant damage is postulated. Different physics.

NobodySpecial February 21, 2014 7:50 AM

There was a suggestion on another forum that this would make a perfect cover for a master criminal.
If the police recieve daily reports of some offence connected with this person they will begin to ignore them

anonymous February 21, 2014 1:09 PM

a police SWAT team pointing semiautomatic guns

Funny how the New York Times doesn’t call them “assault weapons” when they’re in the hands of state actors. I guess you have to use certain words when peddling fear to promote a public policy.

Nick P February 22, 2014 1:36 PM

@ Brian Dell

NSA does NOT work to oppose Russian hackers. The NSA has restricted good crypto, killed off market for high assurance systems that defeat Russian style attackers, and deliberately introduced vulnerabilities into our products of type Russian black hats usually find.

If anything, NSA aided and abetted the enemy by making their job ridiculously easy.

Karellen February 23, 2014 3:15 AM

@anonymous – hadn’t you noticed that before with the classic irregular form of the noun “government” that is “regime”?

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