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Justice Department Appoints First Director of National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team

Justice Department Appoints First Director of National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team

Feb 19, 2022
The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) earlier this week appointed Eun Young Choi to serve as the first Director of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) it established last year. The NCET was  created  to tackle the criminal misuse of cryptocurrencies and digital assets," with a focus on illegal activities in virtual currency exchanges, mixing and tumbling services, and money laundering infrastructure actors to fuel cyberattacks and ransomware and extortion schemes. "The NCET will serve as the focal point for the department's efforts to tackle the growth of crime involving [digital assets and distributed ledger] technologies,"  said  Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department's Criminal Division. Separately, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said it's  launching  a new effort of its own called the Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit (VAXU) dedicated to tracking and seizing illicit cryptocurrencies as part o
FBI, NSA and CISA Warns of Russian Hackers Targeting Critical Infrastructure

FBI, NSA and CISA Warns of Russian Hackers Targeting Critical Infrastructure

Jan 12, 2022
Amid renewed tensions between the U.S. and Russia over  Ukraine  and  Kazakhstan , American cybersecurity and intelligence agencies on Tuesday released a joint advisory on how to detect, respond to, and mitigate cyberattacks orchestrated by Russian state-sponsored actors. To that end, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and National Security Agency (NSA) have laid bare the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) adopted by the adversaries, including spear-phishing, brute-force, and  exploiting known vulnerabilities  to gain initial access to target networks. The list of flaws exploited by Russian hacking groups to gain an initial foothold, which the agencies said are "common but effective," are below — CVE-2018-13379  (FortiGate VPNs) CVE-2019-1653  (Cisco router) CVE-2019-2725  (Oracle WebLogic Server) CVE-2019-7609  (Kibana) CVE-2019-9670  (Zimbra software) CVE-2019-10149  (Exim Simple Mail Transf
AI Copilot: Launching Innovation Rockets, But Beware of the Darkness Ahead

AI Copilot: Launching Innovation Rockets, But Beware of the Darkness Ahead

Apr 15, 2024Secure Coding / Artificial Intelligence
Imagine a world where the software that powers your favorite apps, secures your online transactions, and keeps your digital life could be outsmarted and taken over by a cleverly disguised piece of code. This isn't a plot from the latest cyber-thriller; it's actually been a reality for years now. How this will change – in a positive or negative direction – as artificial intelligence (AI) takes on a larger role in software development is one of the big uncertainties related to this brave new world. In an era where AI promises to revolutionize how we live and work, the conversation about its security implications cannot be sidelined. As we increasingly rely on AI for tasks ranging from mundane to mission-critical, the question is no longer just, "Can AI  boost cybersecurity ?" (sure!), but also "Can AI  be hacked? " (yes!), "Can one use AI  to hack? " (of course!), and "Will AI  produce secure software ?" (well…). This thought leadership article is about the latter. Cydrill  (a
FBI Issues Flash Alert on Actively Exploited FatPipe VPN Zero-Day Bug

FBI Issues Flash Alert on Actively Exploited FatPipe VPN Zero-Day Bug

Nov 19, 2021
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has disclosed that an unidentified threat actor has been exploiting a previously unknown weakness in the FatPipe MPVPN networking devices at least since May 2021 to obtain an initial foothold and maintain persistent access into vulnerable networks, making it the latest company to join the likes of Cisco, Fortinet, Citrix, Pulse Secure that have had their systems exploited in the wild. "The vulnerability allowed APT actors to gain access to an unrestricted file upload function to drop a web shell for exploitation activity with root access, leading to elevated privileges and potential follow-on activity," the agency  said  in an alert published this week. "Exploitation of this vulnerability then served as a jumping off point into other infrastructure for the APT actors." In other words, the zero-day vulnerability enables a remote attacker to upload a file to any location on the filesystem on an affected device. The se
cyber security

Today's Top 4 Identity Threat Exposures: Where To Find Them and How To Stop Them

websiteSilverfortIdentity Protection / Attack Surface
Explore the first ever threat report 100% focused on the prevalence of identity security gaps you may not be aware of.
FBI's Email System Hacked to Send Out Fake Cyber Security Alert to Thousands

FBI's Email System Hacked to Send Out Fake Cyber Security Alert to Thousands

Nov 15, 2021
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Saturday confirmed unidentified threat actors have breached one of its email servers to blast hoax messages about a fake "sophisticated chain attack." The incident, which was first  publicly disclosed  by threat intelligence non-profit SpamHaus, involved sending rogue warning emails with the subject line "Urgent: Threat actor in systems" originating from a legitimate FBI email address "eims@ic.fbi[.]gov" that framed the attack on Vinny Troia, a security researcher and founder of dark web intelligence firms Night Lion Security and Shadowbyte, while also claiming him to be affiliated with a hacking outfit named TheDarkOverlord. SpamHaus cited its own telemetry data to point out that the email blasts happened over two "spam" waves, one shortly before 5:00 a.m. UTC and another one shortly after 7:00 a.m. UTC.  However, according to Kryptos Logic researcher Marcus Hutchins, the goal appears to be
NSA, FBI Reveal Hacking Methods Used by Russian Military Hackers

NSA, FBI Reveal Hacking Methods Used by Russian Military Hackers

Jul 02, 2021
An ongoing brute-force attack campaign targeting enterprise cloud environments has been spearheaded by the Russian military intelligence since mid-2019, according to a joint advisory published by intelligence agencies in the U.K. and U.S. The National Security Agency (NSA), Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the U.K.'s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) formally attributed the incursions to the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) 85th Main Special Service Center (GTsSS). The  threat actor  is also tracked under various monikers, including  APT28  (FireEye Mandiant),  Fancy Bear  (CrowdStrike),  Sofacy  (Kaspersky),  STRONTIUM  (Microsoft), and  Iron Twilight  (Secureworks). APT28 has a track record of leveraging password spray and brute-force login attempts to plunder valid credentials that enable future surveillance or intrusion operations. In November 2020, Microsoft disclosed credenti
FBI Analyst Charged With Stealing Counterterrorism and Cyber Threat Info

FBI Analyst Charged With Stealing Counterterrorism and Cyber Threat Info

May 22, 2021
The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) indicted an employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for illegally removing numerous national security documents and willfully retaining them at her personal residence during a 13-year period from June 2004 to December 2017.  The federal indictment charged Kendra Kingsbury, 48, with two counts of having unauthorized possession of documents relating to the national defense, according to an  unsealed indictment  that was made public on Friday. Kingsbury worked as an intelligence analyst in the FBI's Kansas City Division for more than 12 years, until her suspension in 2017. "The breadth and depth of classified national security information retained by the defendant for more than a decade is simply astonishing,"  said  Alan E. Kohler, Jr. Assistant Director of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division, in a statement. Stating that Kingsbury knew she was not authorized to remove and retain access to these sensitive govern
FBI Warns Conti Ransomware Hit 16 U.S. Health and Emergency Services

FBI Warns Conti Ransomware Hit 16 U.S. Health and Emergency Services

May 22, 2021
The adversary behind Conti ransomware targeted no fewer than 16 healthcare and first responder networks in the U.S. within the past year, totally victimizing over 400 organizations worldwide, 290 of which are situated in the country. That's according to a new  flash alert  issued by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Thursday. "The FBI identified at least 16 Conti ransomware attacks targeting U.S. healthcare and first responder networks, including law enforcement agencies, emergency medical services, 9-1-1 dispatch centers, and municipalities within the last year," the agency said. Ransomware attacks have worsened over the years, with recent targets as varied as state and local governments, hospitals, police departments, and critical infrastructure.  Conti  is one of many ransomware strains that have capitulated on that trend, commencing its operations in July 2020 as a private Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS), in addition to jumping on the double extort
FBI, DHS Warn Of Possible Major Ransomware Attacks On Healthcare Systems

FBI, DHS Warn Of Possible Major Ransomware Attacks On Healthcare Systems

Oct 29, 2020
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Departments of Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a joint alert Wednesday warning of an "imminent" increase in ransomware and other cyberattacks against hospitals and healthcare providers. "Malicious cyber actors are targeting the [Healthcare and Public Health] Sector with TrickBot malware, often leading to ransomware attacks, data theft, and the disruption of healthcare services," the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency  said  in its advisory. The infamous botnet typically spreads via malicious spam email to unsuspecting recipients and can steal financial and personal data and drop other software, such as ransomware, onto infected systems. It's worth noting that cybercriminals have already used TrickBot against a major healthcare provider,  Universal Health Services , whose systems were crippled by Ryuk ransomware late last month. TrickBot has also seen a severe  disrupt
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

Oct 17, 2019
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, 2019
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

Feb 14, 2019
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

Jan 31, 2019
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

Jan 29, 2019
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

Jan 17, 2019
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

Dec 21, 2018
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

Nov 16, 2018
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

Oct 06, 2018
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

Sep 19, 2018
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

Jun 07, 2018
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, 2018
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
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