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Chinese Nationals Arrested for Laundering $73 Million in Pig Butchering Crypto Scam

Chinese Nationals Arrested for Laundering $73 Million in Pig Butchering Crypto Scam
May 19, 2024 Blockchain / Financial Crime
The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has charged two arrested Chinese nationals for allegedly orchestrating a pig butchering scam that laundered at least $73 million from victims through shell companies. The individuals, Daren Li, 41, and Yicheng Zhang, 38, were arrested in Atlanta and Los Angeles on April 12 and May 16, respectively. The foreign nationals have been "charged for leading a scheme to launder funds to the tune of at least $73 million tied to an international crypto investment scam," Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco  said . Prosecutors have accused Li, Zhang, and their co-conspirators of managing an international syndicate that laundered the funds obtained via cryptocurrency investment scams. As part of the fraudulent operation, victims are said to have been tricked into transferring millions of dollars to U.S. bank accounts that were opened in the name of various shell companies. "A network of money launderers then facilitated the transfer of those

Russian Operator of BTC-e Crypto Exchange Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering

Russian Operator of BTC-e Crypto Exchange Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering
May 07, 2024 Cryptocurrency / Cybercrime
A Russian operator of a now-dismantled BTC-e cryptocurrency exchange has  pleaded guilty  to money laundering charges from 2011 to 2017. Alexander Vinnik, 44, was charged in January 2017 and taken into custody in Greece in July 2017. He was subsequently  extradited  to the U.S. in August 2022. Vinnik and his co-conspirators have been accused of owning and managing BTC-e, which allowed its criminal customers to trade in Bitcoin with high levels of anonymity. BTC-e is said to have facilitated transactions for cybercriminals worldwide, receiving illicit proceeds from numerous computer intrusions and hacking incidents, ransomware scams, identity theft schemes, corrupt public officials, and narcotics distribution rings. The crypto exchange received more than $4 billion worth of bitcoin over the course of its operation, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ). It also processed over $9 billion-worth of transactions and served over one million users worldwide, several of them i

Ukrainian REvil Hacker Sentenced to 13 Years and Ordered to Pay $16 Million

Ukrainian REvil Hacker Sentenced to 13 Years and Ordered to Pay $16 Million
May 02, 2024 Ransomware / Cyber Crime
A Ukrainian national has been sentenced to more than 13 years in prison and ordered to pay $16 million in restitution for carrying out thousands of ransomware attacks and extorting victims. Yaroslav Vasinskyi (aka Rabotnik), 24, along with his co-conspirators part of the  REvil ransomware group  orchestrated more than 2,500 ransomware attacks and demanded ransom payments in cryptocurrency totaling more than $700 million. "The co-conspirators demanded ransom payments in cryptocurrency and used cryptocurrency exchangers and mixing services to hide their ill-gotten gains," the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ)  said . "To drive their ransom demands higher, Sodinokibi/REvil co-conspirators also publicly exposed their victims' data when victims would not pay ransom demands." Vasinskyi was  extradited  to the U.S. in March 2022 following his arrest in Poland in October 2021. REvil, prior to formally going offline in late 2021, was responsible for a series of high

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Defending Your Commits From Known CVEs With GitGuardian SCA And Git Hooks

Defending Your Commits From Known CVEs With GitGuardian SCA And Git Hooks
May 20, 2024Software Security / Vulnerability
All developers want to create secure and dependable software. They should feel proud to release their code with the full confidence they did not introduce any weaknesses or anti-patterns into their applications. Unfortunately, developers are not writing their own code for the most part these days. 96% of all software contains some open-source components, and open-source components make up between  70% and 90% of any given piece of modern software . Unfortunately for our security-minded developers, most modern vulnerabilities come from those software components.  As new vulnerabilities emerge and are publicly reported as  Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures  (CVEs), security teams have little choice but to ask the developer to refactor the code to include different versions of the dependencies. Nobody is happy in this situation, as it blocks new features and can be maddening to roll back component versions and hope that nothing breaks. Developers need a way to  quickly  determine if

Bitcoin Forensic Analysis Uncovers Money Laundering Clusters and Criminal Proceeds

Bitcoin Forensic Analysis Uncovers Money Laundering Clusters and Criminal Proceeds
May 01, 2024 Financial Crime / Forensic Analysis
A forensic analysis of a graph dataset containing transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain has revealed clusters associated with illicit activity and money laundering, including detecting criminal proceeds sent to a crypto exchange and previously unknown wallets belonging to a Russian darknet market. The  findings  come from Elliptic in collaboration with researchers from the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. The 26 GB dataset, dubbed  Elliptic2 , is a "large graph dataset containing 122K labeled subgraphs of Bitcoin clusters within a background graph consisting of 49M node clusters and 196M edge transactions," the co-authors  said  in a paper shared with The Hacker News. Elliptic2 builds on the  Elliptic Data Set  (aka Elliptic1), a transaction graph that was made public in July 2019 with the goal of  combating financial crime  using graph convolutional neural networks ( GCNs ). The idea, in a nutshell, is to uncover unlawful activity and money laundering patterns by taking advanta

FBI's Most-Wanted Zeus and IcedID Malware Mastermind Pleads Guilty

FBI's Most-Wanted Zeus and IcedID Malware Mastermind Pleads Guilty
Feb 18, 2024 Malware / Cybercrime
A Ukrainian national has pleaded guilty in the U.S. to his role in two different malware schemes, Zeus and IcedID, between May 2009 and February 2021. Vyacheslav Igorevich Penchukov (aka Vyacheslav Igoravich Andreev, father, and tank), 37, was  arrested  by Swiss authorities in October 2022 and extradited to the U.S. last year. He was added to the FBI's most-wanted list in 2012. The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ)  described  Penchukov as a "leader of two prolific malware groups" that infected thousands of computers with malware, leading to ransomware and the theft of millions of dollars. This included the Zeus banking trojan that facilitated the theft of bank account information, passwords, personal identification numbers, and other details necessary to login to online banking accounts. Penchukov and his co-conspirators, as part of the "wide-ranging racketeering enterprise" dubbed Jabber Zeus gang, then masqueraded as employees of the victims to initiate

North Korea's Cyber Heist: DPRK Hackers Stole $600 Million in Cryptocurrency in 2023

North Korea's Cyber Heist: DPRK Hackers Stole $600 Million in Cryptocurrency in 2023
Jan 08, 2024 Cryptocurrency / Financial Crime
Threat actors affiliated with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (also known as North Korea) have plundered at least $600 million in cryptocurrency in 2023. The DPRK "was responsible for almost a third of all funds stolen in crypto attacks last year, despite a 30% reduction from the USD 850 million haul in 2022," blockchain analytics firm TRM Labs  said  last week. "Hacks perpetrated by the DPRK were on average ten times as damaging as those not linked to North Korea." There are indications that  additional breaches  targeting the crypto sector towards the end of 2023 could push this figure higher to around $700 million. The targeting of cryptocurrency companies is not new for North Korean state-sponsored actors, who have  stolen about $3 billion  since 2017. These financially motivated attacks are seen as a crucial revenue-generation mechanism for the sanctions-hit nation, funding its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile program

3,500 Arrested in Global Operation HAECHI-IV Targeting Financial Criminals

3,500 Arrested in Global Operation HAECHI-IV Targeting Financial Criminals
Dec 20, 2023 Financial Crime / Cyber Threat
A six-month-long international police operation codenamed  HAECHI-IV  has resulted in the arrests of nearly 3,500 individuals and seizures worth $300 million across 34 countries. The exercise, which took place from July through December 2023, took aim at various types of financial crimes such as voice phishing, romance scams, online sextortion, investment fraud, money laundering associated with illegal online gambling, business email compromise fraud, and e-commerce fraud. In addition, authorities froze associated bank and virtual asset service provider (VASP) accounts in an effort to shut off access to criminal proceeds. In total, authorities blocked 82,112 suspicious bank accounts, confiscating $199 million in hard currency and $101 million in virtual assets. "Cooperation between Filipino and Korean authorities led to the arrest in Manila of a high-profile online gambling criminal after a two-year manhunt by Korea's National Police Agency," Interpol, an internation

Four U.S. Nationals Charged in $80 Million Pig Butchering Crypto Scam

Four U.S. Nationals Charged in $80 Million Pig Butchering Crypto Scam
Dec 18, 2023 Cryptocurrency / Online Scam
Four U.S. nationals have been charged for participating in an illicit scheme that earned them more than $80 million via cryptocurrency investment scams. The defendants – Lu Zhang, 36, of Alhambra, California; Justin Walker, 31, of Cypress, California; Joseph Wong, 32, Rosemead, California; and Hailong Zhu, 40, Naperville, Illinois – have been charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, concealment money laundering, and international money laundering. The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), which announced the arrests of both Zhang and Walker in connection with the fraudulent operation, said the quartet opened shell companies and bank accounts to carry out  pig butchering scams , transferring the ill-gotten funds to domestic and international financial entities. If convicted, Zhang and Walker face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Their alleged co-conspirators remain at large. "The overall fraud scheme in the related pig-butchering syndicate involved at least 284

U.S. Takes Down IPStorm Botnet, Russian-Moldovan Mastermind Pleads Guilty

U.S. Takes Down IPStorm Botnet, Russian-Moldovan Mastermind Pleads Guilty
Nov 15, 2023 Cyber Crime / Network Security
The U.S. government on Tuesday announced the takedown of the IPStorm botnet proxy network and its infrastructure, as the Russian and Moldovan national behind the operation pleaded guilty. "The botnet infrastructure had infected Windows systems then further expanded to infect Linux, Mac, and Android devices, victimizing computers and other electronic devices around the world, including in Asia, Europe, North America and South America," the Department of Justice (DoJ)  said  in a press statement. Sergei Makinin, who developed and deployed the malicious software to infiltrate thousands of internet-connected devices from June 2019 through December 2022, faces a maximum of 30 years in prison. The Golang-based botnet malware, prior to its dismantling,  turned the infected devices into proxies  as part of a for-profit scheme, which was then offered to other customers via proxx[.]io and proxx[.]net. "IPStorm is a botnet that abuses a legitimate peer-to-peer (p2p) network c
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