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Feds Shut Down Largest Dark Web Child Abuse Site; South Korean Admin Arrested

Feds Shut Down Largest Dark Web Child Abuse Site; South Korean Admin Arrested
October 17, 2019Swati Khandelwal
The United States Department of Justice said today that they had arrested hundreds of criminals in a global crackdown after taking down the largest known child porn site on the dark web and tracing payments made in bitcoins. With an international coalition of law enforcement agencies, federal officials have arrested the administrator of the child sexual abuse site, 23-year-old Jong Woo Son of South Korea, along with 337 suspects who have been charged for allegedly using the site. The site in question is "Welcome to Video," which operated from June 2015 until March 2018 and hosted over 250,000 sexual exploitation videos of children, toddlers, and infants, which comprised of roughly over 8TB of data. According to a press release published by DoJ, the Welcome to Video site hosted more than 250,000 unique videos, and almost 45 percent of the videos contain new images that have not been previously known to exist. The operation also resulted in the rescue of at least 23

Europol Shuts Down Two Major Illegal 'Dark Web' Trading Platforms

Europol Shuts Down Two Major Illegal 'Dark Web' Trading Platforms
May 03, 2019Wang Wei
Europol announced the shut down of two prolific dark web marketplaces— Wall Street Market and Silkkitie (also known as Valhalla)—in simultaneous global operations against underground websites for trading drugs, stolen credit card numbers, malicious software, and other illegal goods. Police in western Germany has also arrested three men who were allegedly running Wall Street Market, the world's second largest dark marketplace with more than a million users and 5,400 vendors. Besides this, the operation involving Europol , Dutch police and the FBI also led to the arrests of two major suppliers of narcotics via the Wall Street Market site in Los Angeles, the United States. According to the Europol, the police officers seized the computers used to run the illegal market place, along with more than €550 000 (£472,000 or $621,000) in cash, more than €1 Million in Bitcoin and Monero cryptocurrencies, expensive cars, and other evidence. In a press release published today, Eu

Ex-US Intelligence Agent Charged With Spying and Helping Iranian Hackers

Ex-US Intelligence Agent Charged With Spying and Helping Iranian Hackers
February 14, 2019Swati Khandelwal
The United States Department of Justice has announced espionage charges against a former US Air Force intelligence officer with the highest level of top-secret clearance for providing the Iranian government classified defense information after she defected to Iran in 2013. Monica Elfriede Witt , 39, was a former U.S. Air Force Intelligence Specialist and Special Agent of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, who served the Air Force between 1997 and 2008 and Department of Defense (DOD) as a contractor until 2010. The indictment states that Witt once held the highest level of Top Secret security clearance and had access to details of highly classified counterintelligence operations, real names of sources, and the identities of U.S. intelligence officers. In February 2012, Witt allegedly traveled to Iran to attend an all-expenses-paid "Hollywoodism" conference held by the Iranian New Horizon Organization, which DoJ describes as focused on promoting anti-U.S.

FBI Mapping 'Joanap Malware' Victims to Disrupt the North Korean Botnet

FBI Mapping 'Joanap Malware' Victims to Disrupt the North Korean Botnet
January 31, 2019Swati Khandelwal
The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) announced Wednesday its effort to "map and further disrupt" a botnet tied to North Korea that has infected numerous Microsoft Windows computers across the globe over the last decade. Dubbed Joanap , the botnet is believed to be part of " Hidden Cobra "—an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) actors' group often known as Lazarus Group and Guardians of Peace and backed by the North Korean government. Hidden Cobra is the same hacking group that has been allegedly associated with the WannaCry ransomware menace in 2016, the SWIFT Banking attack in 2016, as well as Sony Motion Pictures hack in 2014. Dates back to 2009, Joanap is a remote access tool (RAT) that lands on a victim's system with the help an SMB worm called Brambul , which crawls from one computer to another by brute-forcing Windows Server Message Block (SMB) file-sharing services using a list of common passwords. Once there, Brambul downloads Jo

Police Shut Down xDedic – An Online Market for Cyber Criminals

Police Shut Down xDedic – An Online Market for Cyber Criminals
January 29, 2019Mohit Kumar
In an international operation involving law enforcement authorities from the U.S. and several European countries, feds have shut down an online underground marketplace and arrested three suspects in Ukraine. Dubbed xDedic, the illegal online marketplace let cybercriminals buy, sell or rent out access to thousands of hacked computers and servers across the world and personally identifiable information of U.S. residents. The underground website had been around for years with its administrators strategically maintaining and concealing the locations of its servers all over the world to facilitate the operation of the underground site. xDedic offered buyers to search for over 176,000 unique compromised servers—which were usually in the form of credentials for compromised Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) accounts—from around the world by price, operating system, or even their geographic location from where it was stolen. xDedic impacted victims in multiple industries, "including

Unprotected Government Server Exposes Years of FBI Investigations

Unprotected Government Server Exposes Years of FBI Investigations
January 17, 2019Swati Khandelwal
A massive government data belonging to the Oklahoma Department of Securities (ODS) was left unsecured on a storage server for at least a week, exposing a whopping 3 terabytes of data containing millions of sensitive files. The unsecured storage server, discovered by Greg Pollock , a researcher with cybersecurity firm UpGuard, also contained decades worth of confidential case files from the Oklahoma Securities Commission and many sensitive FBI investigations—all wide open and accessible to anyone without any password. Other severe files exposed included emails, social security numbers, names, and addresses of 10,000 brokers, credentials for remote access to ODS workstations, and communications meant for the Oklahoma Securities Commission, along with a list of identifiable information related to AIDS patients. While the researcher doesn't know exactly how long the server was open to the public, the Shodan search engine revealed that the server had been publicly open since at

FBI Seizes 15 DDoS-For-Hire Websites, 3 Operators Charged

FBI Seizes 15 DDoS-For-Hire Websites, 3 Operators Charged
December 21, 2018Swati Khandelwal
The FBI just saved the Christmas. The U.S. Justice Department announced earlier today that the FBI has seized domains of 15 "DDoS-for-hire" websites and charged three individuals running some of these services. DDoS-for-hire , or "Booter" or "Stresser," services rent out access to a network of infected devices, which then can be used by anyone, even the least tech-savvy individual, to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against any website and disrupt its access. In recent years, multiple hacking groups ruined Christmas Day for millions of gamers by taking down PlayStation, Xbox networks and other gaming servers using massive DDoS attacks. "Booter services such as those named in this action allegedly cause attacks on a wide array of victims in the United States and abroad, including financial institutions, universities, internet service providers, government systems, and various gaming platforms," the DoJ said. &qu

Secret Charges Against Julian Assange Revealed Due to "Cut-Paste" Error

Secret Charges Against Julian Assange Revealed Due to "Cut-Paste" Error
November 16, 2018Mohit Kumar
Has Wikileaks founder Julian Assange officially been charged with any unspecified criminal offense in the United States? — YES United States prosecutors have accidentally revealed the existence of criminal charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in a recently unsealed court filing in an unrelated ongoing sex crime case in the Eastern District of Virginia. Assistant US Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer, who made this disclosure on August 22, urged the judge to keep the indictment [ pdf ] prepared against Assange sealed (secret) "due to the sophistication of the defendant, and the publicity surrounding the case." Dwyer is assigned to the WikiLeaks case. Dwyer also said the charges would "need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges" in the indictment and can, therefore "no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter." WikiLeaks, the website that published thousands of classified U.S. government do

Silk Road Admin Pleads Guilty – Could Face Up to 20 Years in Prison

Silk Road Admin Pleads Guilty – Could Face Up to 20 Years in Prison
October 06, 2018Swati Khandelwal
An Irish national who helped run the now-defunct dark web marketplace Silk Road pleaded guilty on Friday to drug trafficking charges that carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Gary Davis , also known as Libertas, was one of the site administrators and forum moderators for Silk Road, then-largest underground marketplace on the Internet used by thousands of users to sell and buy drugs and other illegal goods and services. Silk Road went down after the law enforcement raided its servers in 2013 and arrested its founder Ross William Ulbricht , who has been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted on multiple counts related to the underground drug marketplace. The FBI also seized Bitcoins (worth about $33.6 million, at the time) from the website. Those Bitcoins were later sold in a series of auctions by the United States Marshals Service (USMS). According to a press release published by US Department of Justice, Davis helped the black market website "r

Mirai Botnet Creators Helping FBI Fight Cybercrime to Stay Out of Jail

Mirai Botnet Creators Helping FBI Fight Cybercrime to Stay Out of Jail
September 19, 2018Mohit Kumar
Three young hackers who were sentenced late last year for creating and spreading the notorious Mirai botnet are now helping the FBI to investigate other "complex" cybercrime cases in return to avoid their lengthy prison terms. Paras Jha, 21 from New Jersey, Josiah White, 20 from Washington, and Dalton Norman, 21 from Louisiana, plead guilty in December 2017 to multiple charges for their role in creating and hijacking hundreds of thousands IoT devices to make them part of a notorious botnet network dubbed Mirai . Mirai malware scanned for insecure routers, cameras, DVRs, and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices which were using their default passwords and then made them part of a botnet network . The trio developed the Mirai botnet to attack rival Minecraft video gaming hosts, but after realizing that their invention was powerful enough to launch record-breaking DDoS attacks against targets like OVH hosting website, they released the source code of Mirai . The

Marcus Hutchins, WannaCry-killer, hit with four new charges by the FBI

Marcus Hutchins, WannaCry-killer, hit with four new charges by the FBI
June 07, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Marcus Hutchins , the British malware analyst who helped stop global Wannacry menace , is now facing four new charges related to malware he allegedly created and promoted it online to steal financial information. Hutchins, the 24-year-old better known as MalwareTech, was arrested by the FBI last year as he was headed home to England from the DefCon conference in Las Vegas for his alleged role in creating and distributing Kronos between 2014 and 2015. Kronos is a Banking Trojan designed to steal banking credentials and personal information from victims' computers, which was sold for $7,000 on Russian online forums, and the FBI accused Hutchins of writing and promoting it online, including via YouTube. Hutchins pleaded not guilty at a court hearing in August 2017 in Milwaukee and release on $30,000 bail. However, earlier this week, a revised superseding indictment [ PDF ] was filed with the Wisconsin Eastern District Court, under which Hutchins faces four new charges alo

FBI seizes control of a massive botnet that infected over 500,000 routers

FBI seizes control of a massive botnet that infected over 500,000 routers
May 24, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Shortly after Cisco's released its early report on a large-scale hacking campaign that infected over half a million routers and network storage devices worldwide, the United States government announced the takedown of a key internet domain used for the attack. Yesterday we reported about a piece of highly sophisticated IoT botnet malware that infected over 500,000 devices  in 54 countries and likely been designed by Russia-baked state-sponsored group in a possible effort to cause havoc in Ukraine, according to an early report published by Cisco's Talos cyber intelligence unit on Wednesday. Dubbed VPNFilter by the Talos researchers, the malware is a multi-stage, modular platform that targets small and home offices (SOHO) routers and storage devices from Linksys, MikroTik, NETGEAR, and TP-Link, as well as network-access storage (NAS) devices. Meanwhile, the court documents unsealed in Pittsburgh on the same day indicate that the FBI has seized a key web domain communic

U.S. Charges 9 Iranians With Hacking Universities to Steal Research Data

U.S. Charges 9 Iranians With Hacking Universities to Steal Research Data
March 25, 2018Swati Khandelwal
The United States Department of Justice has announced criminal charges and sanctions against 9 Iranians involved in hacking universities, tech companies, and government organisations worldwide to steal scientific research resources and academic papers. According to the FBI officials, the individuals are connected to the Mabna Institute , an Iran-based company created in 2013 whose members were allegedly hired by the Iranian government for gathering intelligence. Though the content of the papers is not yet known, investigators believe it might have helped Iranian scientists to develop nuclear weapons. In past four years, the state-sponsored hacking group has allegedly infiltrated more than 320 universities in 22 countries—144 of which were in the United States—and stolen over 30 terabytes of academic data and intellectual property. The group used spear-phishing attacks to target more than 100,000 e-mail accounts and computer systems of the professors around the world, and suc

Feds Seize Over 20,500 Domain Names For Selling Counterfeit Products

Feds Seize Over 20,500 Domain Names For Selling Counterfeit Products
November 27, 2017Mohit Kumar
In a coordinated International cyber operation, law enforcement agencies have seized over 20,520 website domains for illegally selling counterfeit products, including luxury products, sportswear, electronics, pharmaceuticals and online piracy on e-commerce platforms and social networks. Counterfeiting is a form of trademark infringement that involves the manufacturing and/or distribution of fake lookalike branded products with a primary purpose to confuse or dupe consumers into buying them. The operation, dubbed " In Our Sites (Project TransAtlantic VIII) ," was conducted by Europol in association with the Interpol, the US National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Centre (NIPRCC), FBI, Department of Justice (DOJ), and law enforcement authorities from 27 European Member States. Counterfeit goods are a huge business, as the International Trademark Association suggested that around $460 billion worth of counterfeit goods were bought and sold last year alone.

FBI Arrests A Cyberstalker After Shady "No-Logs" VPN Provider Shared User Logs

FBI Arrests A Cyberstalker After Shady "No-Logs" VPN Provider Shared User Logs
October 09, 2017Swati Khandelwal
FBI recently arrested a psycho cyber stalker with the help of a popular VPN service and this case apparently exposed the company's lies about the "no logs" policy. Taking down cyber stalkers and criminals is definitely a good thing, and the FBI has truly done a great job, but the VPN company whose first line of the privacy policy is— "We Do Not monitor user activity nor do we keep any logs" —has literally betrayed its customer's trust. Is your VPN also lying to you? Well, it's the right time to think about this twice. It's no secret that most VPN services—which claim to shield your Internet traffic from prying eyes, assuring you to surf the web anonymously—are not as secure as they claim. In this post-Snowden era, a majority of VPN providers promise that their service is anonymous, with no log policy, but honestly, there is no way you can verify this. PureVPN Helped the FBI with Logs A 24-year-old Massachusetts man, Ryan Lin , has b

Judge: FBI Doesn't Have to Reveal How It Unlocked iPhone Used by San Bernardino Terrorist

Judge: FBI Doesn't Have to Reveal How It Unlocked iPhone Used by San Bernardino Terrorist
October 02, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Remember the infamous encryption fight between the FBI and Apple for unlocking an iPhone belonging to terrorist Syed Farook behind the San Bernardino 2015 mass shooting that killed 14 people? The same Apple vs. FBI case where Apple refused to help feds access data on the locked iPhone and, later the Federal Bureau of Investigation reportedly paid over a million dollars to a vendor for unlocking the shooter's iPhone. For keeping the iPhone hack secret, three news organizations—The Associated Press, USA Today, and Vice Media—sued the FBI last year under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and forced the agency to reveal the name of the company and the amount it was paid to unlock the iPhone . However, unfortunately, they failed. A US federal judge ruled Saturday that the FBI does not have to disclose the name of or how much it paid a private company for an  iPhone hacking tool that unlocked Farook's iPhone. Apple vs. FBI was one of the biggest legal battles in

Hacker Who Hacked US Spy Chief, FBI & CIA Director Gets 5-Year in Prison

Hacker Who Hacked US Spy Chief, FBI & CIA Director Gets 5-Year in Prison
September 09, 2017Wang Wei
Remember " Crackas With Attitude "? The hacking group behind a series of embarrassing hacks that targeted personal email accounts of senior officials at the FBI, the CIA, and the White House, among other United States federal agencies in 2015. A member of Crackas With Attitude , who was arrested last year in September, has now been sentenced to five years in federal prison. Justin Liverman, a 25-year-old man from Morehead City, who was known under the online alias "D3F4ULT," was arrested last year along with another member of the group—Andrew Otto Boggs, 23, of North Wilkesboro, who allegedly used the handle "INCURSIO." The duo hacked into multiple government organizations between October 2015 and February 2016. Boggs was sentenced to two years in prison on June 30, 2017, for his role. Liverman pleaded guilty on January 6 this year to conspiracy to hack U.S. government computers and accounts and was sentenced to 5 years in prison on Friday.

FBI Arrests Another Hacker Who Visited United States to Attend a Conference

FBI Arrests Another Hacker Who Visited United States to Attend a Conference
August 25, 2017Unknown
The FBI has arrested a Chinese citizen for allegedly distributing malware used in the 2015 massive OPM breach that resulted in the theft of personal details of more than 25 Million U.S. federal employees, including 5.6 Million federal officials' fingerprints . Yu Pingan , identified by the agency as the pseudonym "GoldSun," was arrested at Los Angeles international airport on Wednesday when he was arrived in the United States to attend a conference, CNN reported . The 36-year-old Chinese national is said to face charges in connection with the Sakula malware , which was not only used to breach the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) but also breached Anthem health insurance firm in 2015. The Anthem breach resulted in the theft of personal medical records of around 80 million current and former customers of the company. Sakula is a sophisticated remote access Trojan (RAT) that was known to be developed by Deep Panda , a China-based advanced persistent threa

FBI Arrests Researcher Who Found 'Kill-Switch' to Stop Wannacry Ransomware

FBI Arrests Researcher Who Found 'Kill-Switch' to Stop Wannacry Ransomware
August 03, 2017Mohit Kumar
The 22-year-old British security researcher who gained fame for discovering the " kill switch " that stopped the outbreak of the WannaCry ransomware —has been reportedly arrested in the United States after attending the Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas. Marcus Hutchins, operates under the alias MalwareTech on Twitter, was detained by the FBI in the state of Nevada, a friend of Hutchins confirmed Motherboard. At the time of writing, it is unclear why the Internet's ' accidental hero ' has been detained by the FBI, but his arrest has sparked an endless debate in the security community. Hutchins became famous over two months ago when the WannaCry ransomware began hitting businesses, organisations and individuals across the world, and he accidentally halted its global spread by registering a domain name hidden in the malware. hxxp://www[.]iuqerfsodp9ifjaposdfjhgosurijfaewrwergwea[.]com The domain as mentioned above was responsible for keeping Wa

Trump Fires FBI Director Over Clinton Probe, Amid Russia Investigation

Trump Fires FBI Director Over Clinton Probe, Amid Russia Investigation
May 10, 2017Swati Khandelwal
President Donald Trump has abruptly fired James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who was leading an investigation into alleged links between Trump and Russia. The White House announced on Tuesday that Comey was fired on the "clear recommendation" of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, citing the reason that he was no longer able to lead the bureau effectively. "While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau," Trump wrote in a termination letter to Comey. Later a memo from the US deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein explained that Comey was fired as director of the FBI over mishandling of the inquiry into Hillary Clinton's emails, including his decision to close this investigation without prosecution .
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