The new site 404 Media has a good article on how hackers are cheaply getting personal information from credit bureaus:
This is the result of a secret weapon criminals are selling access to online that appears to tap into an especially powerful set of data: the target’s credit header. This is personal information that the credit bureaus Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion have on most adults in America via their credit cards. Through a complex web of agreements and purchases, that data trickles down from the credit bureaus to other companies who offer it to debt collectors, insurance companies, and law enforcement.
A 404 Media investigation has found that criminals have managed to tap into that data supply chain, in some cases by stealing former law enforcement officer’s identities, and are selling unfettered access to their criminal cohorts online. The tool 404 Media tested has also been used to gather information on high profile targets such as Elon Musk, Joe Rogan, and even President Joe Biden, seemingly without restriction. 404 Media verified that although not always sensitive, at least some of that data is accurate.
Posted on September 7, 2023 at 7:09 AM •
I get UPS phishing spam on my phone all the time. I never click on it, because it’s so obviously spam. Turns out that hackers have been harvesting actual UPS delivery data from a Canadian tracking tool for its phishing SMSs.
Posted on June 23, 2023 at 10:55 AM •
EFF has a good explainer on the problems with the new UN Cybercrime Treaty, currently being negotiated in Vienna.
The draft treaty has the potential to rewrite criminal laws around the world, possibly adding over 30 criminal offenses and new expansive police powers for both domestic and international criminal investigations.
While we don’t think the U.N. Cybercrime Treaty is necessary, we’ve been closely scrutinizing the process and providing constructive analysis. We’ve made clear that human rights must be baked into the proposed treaty so that it doesn’t become a tool to stifle freedom of expression, infringe on privacy and data protection, or endanger vulnerable people and communities.
Posted on April 19, 2023 at 6:07 AM •
Genesis Market is shut down:
Active since 2018, Genesis Market’s slogan was, “Our store sells bots with logs, cookies, and their real fingerprints.” Customers could search for infected systems with a variety of options, including by Internet address or by specific domain names associated with stolen credentials.
But earlier today, multiple domains associated with Genesis had their homepages replaced with a seizure notice from the FBI, which said the domains were seized pursuant to a warrant issued by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin did not respond to requests for comment. The FBI declined to comment.
But sources close to the investigation tell KrebsOnSecurity that law enforcement agencies in the United States, Canada and across Europe are currently serving arrest warrants on dozens of individuals thought to support Genesis, either by maintaining the site or selling the service bot logs from infected systems.
The seizure notice includes the seals of law enforcement entities from several countries, including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Posted on April 5, 2023 at 11:55 AM •
Brian Krebs is reporting that the UK’s National Crime Agency is setting up fake DDoS-for-hire sites as part of a sting operation:
The NCA says all of its fake so-called “booter” or “stresser” sites - which have so far been accessed by several thousand people—have been created to look like they offer the tools and services that enable cyber criminals to execute these attacks.
“However, after users register, rather than being given access to cyber crime tools, their data is collated by investigators,” reads an NCA advisory on the program. “Users based in the UK will be contacted by the National Crime Agency or police and warned about engaging in cyber crime. Information relating to those based overseas is being passed to international law enforcement.”
The NCA declined to say how many phony booter sites it had set up, or for how long they have been running. The NCA says hiring or launching attacks designed to knock websites or users offline is punishable in the UK under the Computer Misuse Act 1990.
“Going forward, people who wish to use these services can’t be sure who is actually behind them, so why take the risk?” the NCA announcement continues.
Posted on April 3, 2023 at 7:05 AM •
From Brian Krebs:
A Croatian national has been arrested for allegedly operating NetWire, a Remote Access Trojan (RAT) marketed on cybercrime forums since 2012 as a stealthy way to spy on infected systems and siphon passwords. The arrest coincided with a seizure of the NetWire sales website by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). While the defendant in this case hasn’t yet been named publicly, the NetWire website has been leaking information about the likely true identity and location of its owner for the past 11 years.
The article details the mistakes that led to the person’s address.
Posted on March 14, 2023 at 7:23 AM •
Criminals using Google search ads to deliver malware isn’t new, but Ars Technica declared that the problem has become much worse recently.
The surge is coming from numerous malware families, including AuroraStealer, IcedID, Meta Stealer, RedLine Stealer, Vidar, Formbook, and XLoader. In the past, these families typically relied on phishing and malicious spam that attached Microsoft Word documents with booby-trapped macros. Over the past month, Google Ads has become the go-to place for criminals to spread their malicious wares that are disguised as legitimate downloads by impersonating brands such as Adobe Reader, Gimp, Microsoft Teams, OBS, Slack, Tor, and Thunderbird.
It’s clear that despite all the progress Google has made filtering malicious sites out of returned ads and search results over the past couple decades, criminals have found ways to strike back. These criminals excel at finding the latest techniques to counter the filtering. As soon as Google devises a way to block them, the criminals figure out new ways to circumvent those protections.
Posted on February 7, 2023 at 7:23 AM •
Chainalysis reports that worldwide ransomware payments were down in 2022.
Ransomware attackers extorted at least $456.8 million from victims in 2022, down from $765.6 million the year before.
As always, we have to caveat these findings by noting that the true totals are much higher, as there are cryptocurrency addresses controlled by ransomware attackers that have yet to be identified on the blockchain and incorporated into our data. When we published last year’s version of this report, for example, we had only identified $602 million in ransomware payments in 2021. Still, the trend is clear: Ransomware payments are significantly down.
However, that doesn’t mean attacks are down, or at least not as much as the drastic drop-off in payments would suggest. Instead, we believe that much of the decline is due to victim organizations increasingly refusing to pay ransomware attackers.
Posted on January 31, 2023 at 7:03 AM •
I don’t know how much of a thing this will end up being, but we are seeing ChatGPT-written malware in the wild.
…within a few weeks of ChatGPT going live, participants in cybercrime forums—some with little or no coding experience—were using it to write software and emails that could be used for espionage, ransomware, malicious spam, and other malicious tasks.
“It’s still too early to decide whether or not ChatGPT capabilities will become the new favorite tool for participants in the Dark Web,” company researchers wrote. “However, the cybercriminal community has already shown significant interest and are jumping into this latest trend to generate malicious code.”
Last month, one forum participant posted what they claimed was the first script they had written and credited the AI chatbot with providing a “nice [helping] hand to finish the script with a nice scope.”
The Python code combined various cryptographic functions, including code signing, encryption, and decryption. One part of the script generated a key using elliptic curve cryptography and the curve ed25519 for signing files. Another part used a hard-coded password to encrypt system files using the Blowfish and Twofish algorithms. A third used RSA keys and digital signatures, message signing, and the blake2 hash function to compare various files.
Check Point Research report.
ChatGPT-generated code isn’t that good, but it’s a start. And the technology will only get better. Where it matters here is that it gives less skilled hackers—script kiddies—new capabilities.
Posted on January 10, 2023 at 7:18 AM •
Following a recent Supreme Court ruling, the Justice Department will no longer prosecute “good faith” security researchers with cybercrimes:
The policy for the first time directs that good-faith security research should not be charged. Good faith security research means accessing a computer solely for purposes of good-faith testing, investigation, and/or correction of a security flaw or vulnerability, where such activity is carried out in a manner designed to avoid any harm to individuals or the public, and where the information derived from the activity is used primarily to promote the security or safety of the class of devices, machines, or online services to which the accessed computer belongs, or those who use such devices, machines, or online services.
The new policy states explicitly the longstanding practice that “the department’s goals for CFAA enforcement are to promote privacy and cybersecurity by upholding the legal right of individuals, network owners, operators, and other persons to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information stored in their information systems.” Accordingly, the policy clarifies that hypothetical CFAA violations that have concerned some courts and commentators are not to be charged. Embellishing an online dating profile contrary to the terms of service of the dating website; creating fictional accounts on hiring, housing, or rental websites; using a pseudonym on a social networking site that prohibits them; checking sports scores at work; paying bills at work; or violating an access restriction contained in a term of service are not themselves sufficient to warrant federal criminal charges. The policy focuses the department’s resources on cases where a defendant is either not authorized at all to access a computer or was authorized to access one part of a computer—such as one email account—and, despite knowing about that restriction, accessed a part of the computer to which his authorized access did not extend, such as other users’ emails.
EDITED TO ADD (6/14): Josephine Wolff writes about this update.
Posted on May 24, 2022 at 6:11 AM •
Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.