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Scam Alert: You've Been Selected for 'Like of the Year 2020' Cash Prizes

Scam Alert: You've Been Selected for 'Like of the Year 2020' Cash Prizes
February 20, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers have discovered a large-scale ongoing fraud scheme that lures unsuspecting Russian Internet users with promises of financial rewards to steal their payment card information. According to researchers at Group-IB , the multi-stage phishing attack exploited the credibility of Russian Internet portal Rambler to trick users into participating in a fictitious "Like of the Year 2020" contest. The development is a reminder that rewards-based social engineering campaigns continue to be an effective means to scam users, not to mention the leveraging the collected data to their financial advantage. Under the "Like of the Year" scheme, users were invited to win a large cash prize, telling them they've been randomly selected after liking a post on social media platforms such as VKontakte. The invites were sent via an email blast by hacking the mail servers of a fiscal data operator , which refers to a legal entity created to aggregate, st

Russian Pleads Guilty to Running 'CardPlanet' to Sell Stolen Credit Cards

Russian Pleads Guilty to Running 'CardPlanet' to Sell Stolen Credit Cards
January 24, 2020Swati Khandelwal
Image credit: Times of Israel. Aleksei Burkov, a 29-year-old Russian hacker, on Thursday pleaded guilty to multiple criminal charges for running two illegal websites that helped cyber criminals commit more than $20 million in credit card fraud. The first website Burkov operated was an online marketplace for buying and selling stolen credit card and debit card numbers—called Cardplanet —which roughly hosted 150,000 payment card details between the years 2009 and 2013. Cardplanet marketplace offered stolen payment card details for anywhere between $2.50 and $10 a card, depending on the card type, country of origin, and the availability of card owner information. The carding website even offered a paid service that allowed buyers to instantly verify if a stolen payment card were still valid. "Many of the cards offered for sale belonged to U.S. citizens. The stolen credit card data from more than 150,000 compromised payment cards was allegedly sold on Burkov's site and

FBI Puts $5 Million Bounty On Russian Hackers Behind Dridex Banking Malware

FBI Puts $5 Million Bounty On Russian Hackers Behind Dridex Banking Malware
December 05, 2019Swati Khandelwal
The United States Department of Justice today disclosed the identities of two Russian hackers and charged them for developing and distributing the Dridex banking Trojan using which the duo stole more than $100 million over a period of 10 years. Maksim Yakubets , the leader of 'Evil Corp' hacking group, and his co-conspirator Igor Turashev primarily distributed Dridex — also known as ' Bugat ' and ' Cridex ' — through multi-million email campaigns and targeted numerous organizations around the world. The State Department has also announced a reward of up to $5 million—the largest offered bounty to date for a cybercrime suspect—for providing information that could lead to the arrest of Yakubets, who remains at large. "Bugat is a multifunction malware package designed to automate the theft of confidential personal and financial information, such as online banking credentials, from infected computers," the DoJ said in its press release . &qu

Russian Hacker Behind NeverQuest Banking Malware Gets 4 Years in U.S. Prison

Russian Hacker Behind NeverQuest Banking Malware Gets 4 Years in U.S. Prison
November 22, 2019Swati Khandelwal
A Russian hacker who created and used Neverquest banking malware to steal money from victims' bank accounts has finally been sentenced to 4 years in prison by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Stanislav Vitaliyevich Lisov , 34, was arrested by Spanish authorities at Barcelona–El Prat Airport in January 2017 on the request of the FBI and extradited to the United States in 2018. Earlier this year, Lisov pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit computer hacking, involving attempts to steal at least $4.4 million from hundreds of victims using the NeverQuest banking trojan. Just like any other sophisticated banking Trojan, NeverQuest , aka Vawtrak or Snifula, has also been designed to let attackers remotely control infected computers and steal a wide range of sensitive information. Besides stealing login information for banking or other financial accounts using a keylogger or web form injection techniques, the malware was also c

Russian Hackers Targeting Anti-Doping Agencies Ahead of 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Russian Hackers Targeting Anti-Doping Agencies Ahead of 2020 Tokyo Olympics
October 29, 2019Swati Khandelwal
As Japan gears up for the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo for the next year, the country needs to brace itself for sophisticated cyberattacks, especially from state-sponsored hackers. Microsoft has issued a short notice, warning about a new wave of highly targeted cyberattacks by a group of Russian state-sponsored hackers attempting to hack over a dozen anti-doping authorities and sporting organizations around the world. The attacks are originating from the 'Strontium' Russian hacking group, widely known as Fancy Bear or APT28, and are believed to be linked to the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The Fancy Bear hacking group, also known as APT28, Sofacy, X-agent , Sednit , Sandworm , and Pawn Storm, is believed to be linked to Russian military intelligence agency GRU and has been in operation since at least 2007. Over these past three decades, the group has been credited to many high profile hacking incidents, like hacking the US presidential elections

Russian APT Map Reveals 22,000 Connections Between 2000 Malware Samples

Russian APT Map Reveals 22,000 Connections Between 2000 Malware Samples
September 24, 2019Wang Wei
Though Russia still has an undiversified and stagnant economy, it was one of the early countries in the world to realize the value of remotely conducted cyber intrusions. In recent years, many Russia hacking groups have emerged as one of the most sophisticated nation-state actors in cyberspace, producing highly specialized hacking techniques and toolkits for cyber espionage. Over the past three decades, many high profile hacking incidents—like hacking the US presidential elections , targeting a country with NotPetya ransomware , causing blackout in Ukrainian capital Kiev , and Pentagon breach—have been attributed to Russian hacking groups, including Fancy Bear  (Sofacy), Turla ,  Cozy Bear ,  Sandworm Team  and Berserk Bear. Besides continuously expanding its cyberwar capabilities, the ecosystem of Russian APT groups has also grown into a very complex structure, making it harder to understand who's who in Russian cyber espionage. Now to illustrate the big picture and mak

Russian Hacking Group Targeting Banks Worldwide With Evolving Tactics

Russian Hacking Group Targeting Banks Worldwide With Evolving Tactics
August 21, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Silence APT , a Russian-speaking cybercriminal group, known for targeting financial organizations primarily in former Soviet states and neighboring countries is now aggressively targeting banks in more than 30 countries across America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Active since at least September 2016, Silence APT group's most recent successful campaign was against Bangladesh-based Dutch-Bangla Bank, which lost over $3 million during a string of ATM cash withdrawals over a span of several days. According to a new report Singapore-based cybersecurity firm Group-IB shared with The Hacker News, the hacking group has significantly expanded their geography in recent months, increased the frequency of their attack campaigns, as well as enhanced its arsenal. The report also describes the evolution of the Silence hacking group from "young and highly motivated hackers" to one of the most sophisticated advanced persistent threat (APT) group that is now posing threats to bank

Hacker Stole Data of Over 70% Bulgarian Citizens from Tax Agency Servers

Hacker Stole Data of Over 70% Bulgarian Citizens from Tax Agency Servers
July 17, 2019Wang Wei
Eastern European country Bulgaria has suffered the biggest data breach in its history that compromised personal and financial information of 5 million adult citizens out of its total population of 7 million people. According to multiple sources in local Bulgarian media , an unknown hacker earlier this week emailed them download links to 11GB of stolen data which included taxpayer's personal identifiable numbers, addresses, and financial data. In a brief statement released Monday, the National Revenue Agency (NRA) of Bulgaria said the stolen data originates from the country's tax reporting service. The NRA also indicated that the Ministry of the Interior and the State Agency for National Security (SANS) have started taking an assessment of the potential vulnerability in NRA's systems that attackers might have exploited to breach into its databases. It appears that until now, the hacker, who claimed to be a Russian man, has only released 57 out of a total of 110 c

Alleged Russian Hacker Pleads Not Guilty After Extradition to United States

Alleged Russian Hacker Pleads Not Guilty After Extradition to United States
January 21, 2019Wang Wei
A Russian hacker indicted by a United States court for his involvement in online ad fraud schemes that defrauded multiple American companies out of tens of millions of dollars pleaded not guilty on Friday in a courtroom in Brooklyn, New York. Aleksandr Zhukov , 38, was arrested in November last year by Bulgarian authorities after the U.S. issued an international warrant against him, and was extradited by Bulgaria to the United States on Thursday (January 18, 2019). He is currently in prison in Brooklyn. In November 2018, law enforcement and multiple security firms collaborated to shut down one of the largest digital ad-fraud schemes, which they dubbed 3ve , that infected over 1.7 million computers worldwide to generate fake clicks used to defraud digital advertisers for years and made tens of millions of dollars in revenue. Pronounced "Eve," the online ad-fraud campaign was believed to have been active since at least 2014, but its fraudulent activity grew last yea

Real Identity of Hacker Who Sold LinkedIn, Dropbox Databases Revealed

Real Identity of Hacker Who Sold LinkedIn, Dropbox Databases Revealed
November 21, 2018Swati Khandelwal
The real identity of Tessa88—the notorious hacker tied to several high-profile cyber attacks including the LinkedIn , DropBox and MySpace mega breaches—has been revealed as Maksim Vladimirovich Donakov (Максим Владимирович Донаков), a resident of Penza, Russian Federation. In early 2016, a hacker with pseudonym Tessa88 emerged online offering stolen databases from some of the biggest social media websites in the world, including LinkedIn, MySpace, VKontakte (vk.com), Dropbox, Rambler , and Twitter , for sale in various underground hacking forums. The stolen data, taken years ago from several social media sites, included more than half a billion username and password combinations, which were then used in phishing, account takeover, and other cyber attacks. Though Tessa88's profile was active for a few months between February and May 2016, the OPSEC analysis revealed that the same person was involved in various cybercriminal activities since as early as 2012 under different

FireEye: Russian Research Lab Aided the Development of TRITON Industrial Malware

FireEye: Russian Research Lab Aided the Development of TRITON Industrial Malware
October 24, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Cybersecurity firm FireEye claims to have discovered evidence that proves the involvement of a Russian-owned research institute in the development of the TRITON malware that caused some industrial systems to unexpectedly shut down last year, including a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia. TRITON , also known as Trisis, is a piece of ICS malware designed to target the Triconex Safety Instrumented System (SIS) controllers made by Schneider Electric which are often used in oil and gas facilities. Triconex Safety Instrumented System is an autonomous control system that independently monitors the performance of critical systems and takes immediate actions automatically if a dangerous state is detected. Since malware of such capabilities can't be created by a computer hacker without possessing necessary knowledge of Industrial Control Systems (ICS), researchers believe with "high confidence" that Moscow-based lab Central Scientific Research Institute of Chemistry and

Cybersecurity Researchers Spotted First-Ever UEFI Rootkit in the Wild

Cybersecurity Researchers Spotted First-Ever UEFI Rootkit in the Wild
September 27, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Cybersecurity researchers at ESET have unveiled what they claim to be the first-ever UEFI rootkit being used in the wild, allowing hackers to implant persistent malware on the targeted computers that could survive a complete hard-drive wipe. Dubbed LoJax , the UEFI rootkit is part of a malware campaign conducted by the infamous Sednit group, also known as APT28, Fancy Bear , Strontium , and Sofacy , to target several government organizations in the Balkans as well as in Central and Eastern Europe. Operating since at least 2007, Sednit group is a state-sponsored hacking group believed to be a unit of GRU (General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate), a Russian secret military intelligence agency. The hacking group has been associated with a number of high profile attacks, including the DNC hack just before the U.S. 2016 presidential election . UEFI, or Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, a replacement for the traditional BIOS, is a core and critical firmware component of a

Greece U-Turns — Now Approves Mr. Bitcoin's Extradition To Russia

Greece U-Turns — Now Approves Mr. Bitcoin's Extradition To Russia
September 17, 2018Wang Wei
Greece just took another U-turn. Mr. Bitcoin a.k.a. Alexander Vinnik is not going to France nor to the United States; instead, he is now possibly going to his homeland Russia. The Supreme Civil and Criminal Court of Greece on Friday has overruled previous decisions and approved to extradite the alleged owner of the now-defunct Bitcoin cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e Vinnik to Russia. Several Greek courts have previously ruled in favor of all three countries, Russia, France, and the United States, where Vinnik is wanted to face different criminal and hacking charges. Vinnik, 38, has been accused of operating BTC-e cryptocurrency exchange, which was shut down right after his arrest by Greek police in July 2017 at the request of the U.S., where he is convicted for fraud and money laundering more than $4 billion worth amount of Bitcoin (BTC) for criminals involved in hacking attacks, tax fraud, and drug trafficking. Vinnik is also accused to the failure of the once-most famous

Russian Hacker Pleads Guilty to Operating Kelihos Botnet

Russian Hacker Pleads Guilty to Operating Kelihos Botnet
September 13, 2018Mohit Kumar
The Russian man who was accused of operating the infamous Kelihos botnet has finally pleaded guilty in a U.S. federal court. Peter Yuryevich Levashov , 38, of St. Petersburg, Russia, pleaded guilty on Wednesday in U.S. federal court in Connecticut to computer crime, wire fraud, conspiracy and identity theft charges. Levashov, also known by many online aliases including Peter Severa, Petr Levashov, Petr Severa and Sergey Astakhov, has admitted of operating several botnets, including the Storm, Waledac and Kelihos botnets, since the late 1990s until he was arrested in April 2017 . Kelihos botnet, dated back to 2010, was a global network of tens of thousands of infected computers that were used to steal login credentials, send bulk spam emails, and infect computers with ransomware and other malware. Russian Hacker Infects 50,000 Computers With Kelihos Botnet Storm and Waledac botnets also shared Kelihos code, but kelihos was the most notorious botnet of all that alone infect

NSA Leaker 'Reality Winner' Gets More Than 5 Years in Prison

NSA Leaker 'Reality Winner' Gets More Than 5 Years in Prison
August 24, 2018Mohit Kumar
A former NSA contractor, who pleaded guilty to leaking a classified report on Russian hacking of the 2016 U.S. presidential election to an online news outlet last year, has been sentenced to five years and three months in prison. Reality Winner , a 26-year-old Georgia woman who held a top-secret security clearance and worked as a government contractor in Georgia with Pluribus International, initially faced 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. However, in the U.S. District Court in Augusta, Georgia on Thursday, Winner agreed to a plea agreement that called for five years and three months in prison with three years of supervision after release. Back in May 2017, Winner printed out a top-secret document detailing about the Russian hacking into U.S. voting systems, smuggled the report out of the agency in her underwear, and then mailed it anonymously to The Intercept. The Intercept, an online publication that has been publishing classified NSA documents leaked by Edward Snow

Microsoft Detects More Russian Cyber Attacks Ahead of Mid-Term Election

Microsoft Detects More Russian Cyber Attacks Ahead of Mid-Term Election
August 21, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Microsoft claims to have uncovered another new Russian hacking attempts targeting United States' Senate and conservative think tanks ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. The tech giant said Tuesday that the APT28 hacking group—also known as Strontium, Fancy Bear , Sofacy, Sednit, and Pawn Storm, which is believed to be tied to the Russian government—created at least six fake websites related to US Senate and conservative organizations to trick its visitors and hack into their computers. Three fake web domains were intended to look as if they belonged to the U.S. Senate, while one non-political website spoofed Microsoft's own online products. The two other phony websites were designed to mimic two U.S. conservative organizations: The Hudson Institute — a conservative Washington think tank hosting extended discussions on topics including cybersecurity, among other important activities. The International Republican Institute (IRI) — a nonprofit group that promotes

Microsoft Says Russia Tried to Hack Three 2018 Midterm Election Candidates

Microsoft Says Russia Tried to Hack Three 2018 Midterm Election Candidates
July 19, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Microsoft said it detected and helped the US government to block Russian hacking attempts against at least three congressional candidates this year, a Microsoft executive revealed speaking at the Aspen Security Forum today. Although the company refused to name the targets but said, the three candidates were "people who, because of their positions, might have been interesting targets from an espionage standpoint as well as an election disruption standpoint." According to the company, the Russian hackers targeted the candidates' staffers with phishing attacks, redirecting them to a fake Microsoft website, in an attempt to steal their credentials. "Earlier this year, we did discover that a fake Microsoft domain had been established as the landing page for phishing attacks," said Tom Burt, Microsoft's vice president for customer security. "And we saw metadata that suggested those phishing attacks were being directed at three candidates who are all sta

12 Russian Intelligence Agents Indicted For Hacking DNC Emails

12 Russian Intelligence Agents Indicted For Hacking DNC Emails
July 15, 2018Mohit Kumar
The US Justice Department has announced criminal indictments against 12 Russian intelligence officers tied to the hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the 2016 US presidential election campaign. The charges were drawn up as part of the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election by Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel, and former FBI director. The indictments against 12 Russian military officers were announced by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein during a DoJ press conference on Friday—just 3 days before the Russian leader Vladimir Putin is scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump. All 12 Russian officers are members of the country's GRU military intelligence unit and are accused of carrying out "large-scale cyber operations" to hack into DNC network and steal Democrats' emails to influence the 2016 presidential election. Here's the list of all 12 defendants: Viktor Borisovich Netyksho Boris

Hackers Who Hit Winter Olympics 2018 Are Still Alive and Kicking

Hackers Who Hit Winter Olympics 2018 Are Still Alive and Kicking
June 19, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Remember the ' Olympic Destroyer ' cyber attack? The group behind it is still alive, kicking and has now been found targeting biological and chemical threat prevention laboratories in Europe and Ukraine, and a few financial organisation in Russia. Earlier this year, an unknown group of notorious hackers targeted Winter Olympic Games 2018 , held in South Korea, using a destructive malware that purposely planted sophisticated false flags to trick researchers into mis-attributing the campaign. Unfortunately, the destructive malware was successful to some extent, at least for a next few days, as immediately after the attack various security researchers postmortem the Olympic Destroyer malware and started attributing the attack to different nation-state hacking groups from North Korea, Russia, and China. Later researchers from Russian antivirus vendor Kaspersky Labs uncovered more details about the attack, including the evidence of false attribution artifacts, and conclud
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