Why CISA is Warning CISOs About a Breach at Sisense

April 11, 2024

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said today it is investigating a breach at business intelligence company Sisense, whose products are designed to allow companies to view the status of multiple third-party online services in a single dashboard. CISA urged all Sisense customers to reset any credentials and secrets that may have been shared with the company, which is the same advice Sisense gave to its customers Wednesday evening.

New York City based Sisense has more than a thousand customers across a range of industry verticals, including financial services, telecommunications, healthcare and higher education. On April 10, Sisense Chief Information Security Officer Sangram Dash told customers the company had been made aware of reports that “certain Sisense company information may have been made available on what we have been advised is a restricted access server (not generally available on the internet.)”

“We are taking this matter seriously and promptly commenced an investigation,” Dash continued. “We engaged industry-leading experts to assist us with the investigation. This matter has not resulted in an interruption to our business operations. Out of an abundance of caution, and while we continue to investigate, we urge you to promptly rotate any credentials that you use within your Sisense application.”

In its alert, CISA said it was working with private industry partners to respond to a recent compromise discovered by independent security researchers involving Sisense.

“CISA is taking an active role in collaborating with private industry partners to respond to this incident, especially as it relates to impacted critical infrastructure sector organizations,” the sparse alert reads. “We will provide updates as more information becomes available.”

Sisense declined to comment when asked about the veracity of information shared by two trusted sources with close knowledge of the breach investigation. Those sources said the breach appears to have started when the attackers somehow gained access to the company’s Gitlab code repository, and in that repository was a token or credential that gave the bad guys access to Sisense’s Amazon S3 buckets in the cloud.

Customers can use Gitlab either as a solution that is hosted in the cloud at Gitlab.com, or as a self-managed deployment. KrebsOnSecurity understands that Sisense was using the self-managed version of Gitlab.

Both sources said the attackers used the S3 access to copy and exfiltrate several terabytes worth of Sisense customer data, which apparently included millions of access tokens, email account passwords, and even SSL certificates.

The incident raises questions about whether Sisense was doing enough to protect sensitive data entrusted to it by customers, such as whether the massive volume of stolen customer data was ever encrypted while at rest in these Amazon cloud servers.

It is clear, however, that unknown attackers now have all of the credentials that Sisense customers used in their dashboards. Continue reading

Twitter’s Clumsy Pivot to X.com Is a Gift to Phishers

April 10, 2024

On April 9, Twitter/X began automatically modifying links that mention “twitter.com” to read “x.com” instead. But over the past 48 hours, dozens of new domain names have been registered that demonstrate how this change could be used to craft convincing phishing links — such as fedetwitter[.]com, which until very recently rendered as fedex.com in tweets.

The message displayed when one visits goodrtwitter.com, which Twitter/X displayed as goodrx.com in tweets and messages.

A search at DomainTools.com shows at least 60 domain names have been registered over the past two days for domains ending in “twitter.com,” although research so far shows the majority of these domains have been registered “defensively” by private individuals to prevent the domains from being purchased by scammers.

Those include carfatwitter.com, which Twitter/X truncated to carfax.com when the domain appeared in user messages or tweets. Visiting this domain currently displays a message that begins, “Are you serious, X Corp?”

Update: It appears Twitter/X has corrected its mistake, and no longer truncates any domain ending in “twitter.com” to “x.com.”

Original story:

The same message is on other newly registered domains, including goodrtwitter.com (goodrx.com), neobutwitter.com (neobux.com), roblotwitter.com (roblox.com), square-enitwitter.com (square-enix.com) and yandetwitter.com (yandex.com). The message left on these domains indicates they were defensively registered by a user on Mastodon whose bio says they are a systems admin/engineer. That profile has not responded to requests for comment.

A number of these new domains including “twitter.com” appear to be registered defensively by Twitter/X users in Japan. The domain netflitwitter.com (netflix.com, to Twitter/X users) now displays a message saying it was “acquired to prevent its use for malicious purposes,” along with a Twitter/X username.

The domain mentioned at the beginning of this story — fedetwitter.com — redirects users to the blog of a Japanese technology enthusiast. A user with the handle “amplest0e” appears to have registered space-twitter.com, which Twitter/X users would see as the CEO’s “space-x.com.” The domain “ametwitter.com” already redirects to the real americanexpress.com. Continue reading


April’s Patch Tuesday Brings Record Number of Fixes

April 9, 2024

If only Patch Tuesdays came around infrequently — like total solar eclipse rare — instead of just creeping up on us each month like The Man in the Moon. Although to be fair, it would be tough for Microsoft to eclipse the number of vulnerabilities fixed in this month’s patch batch — a record 147 flaws in Windows and related software.

Yes, you read that right. Microsoft today released updates to address 147 security holes in Windows, Office, Azure, .NET Framework, Visual Studio, SQL Server, DNS Server, Windows Defender, Bitlocker, and Windows Secure Boot.

“This is the largest release from Microsoft this year and the largest since at least 2017,” said Dustin Childs, from Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI). “As far as I can tell, it’s the largest Patch Tuesday release from Microsoft of all time.”

Tempering the sheer volume of this month’s patches is the middling severity of many of the bugs. Only three of April’s vulnerabilities earned Microsoft’s most-dire “critical” rating, meaning they can be abused by malware or malcontents to take remote control over unpatched systems with no help from users.

Most of the flaws that Microsoft deems “more likely to be exploited” this month are marked as “important,” which usually involve bugs that require a bit more user interaction (social engineering) but which nevertheless can result in system security bypass, compromise, and the theft of critical assets.

Ben McCarthy, lead cyber security engineer at Immersive Labs called attention to CVE-2024-20670, an Outlook for Windows spoofing vulnerability described as being easy to exploit. It involves convincing a user to click on a malicious link in an email, which can then steal the user’s password hash and authenticate as the user in another Microsoft service. Continue reading

Fake Lawsuit Threat Exposes Privnote Phishing Sites

April 4, 2024

A cybercrook who has been setting up websites that mimic the self-destructing message service privnote.com accidentally exposed the breadth of their operations recently when they threatened to sue a software company. The disclosure revealed a profitable network of phishing sites that behave and look like the real Privnote, except that any messages containing cryptocurrency addresses will be automatically altered to include a different payment address controlled by the scammers.

The real Privnote, at privnote.com.

Launched in 2008, privnote.com employs technology that encrypts each message so that even Privnote itself cannot read its contents. And it doesn’t send or receive messages. Creating a message merely generates a link. When that link is clicked or visited, the service warns that the message will be gone forever after it is read.

Privnote’s ease-of-use and popularity among cryptocurrency enthusiasts has made it a perennial target of phishers, who erect Privnote clones that function more or less as advertised but also quietly inject their own cryptocurrency payment addresses when a note is created that contains crypto wallets.

Last month, a new user on GitHub named fory66399 lodged a complaint on the “issues” page for MetaMask, a software cryptocurrency wallet used to interact with the Ethereum blockchain. Fory66399 insisted that their website — privnote[.]co — was being wrongly flagged by MetaMask’s “eth-phishing-detect” list as malicious.

“We filed a lawsuit with a lawyer for dishonestly adding a site to the block list, damaging reputation, as well as ignoring the moderation department and ignoring answers!” fory66399 threatened. “Provide evidence or I will demand compensation!”

MetaMask’s lead product manager Taylor Monahan replied by posting several screenshots of privnote[.]co showing the site did indeed swap out any cryptocurrency addresses.

After being told where they could send a copy of their lawsuit, Fory66399 appeared to become flustered, and proceeded to mention a number of other interesting domain names:

You sent me screenshots from some other site! It’s red!!!!
The tornote.io website has a different color altogether
The privatenote,io website also has a different color! What’s wrong?????

A search at DomainTools.com for privatenote[.]io shows it has been registered to two names over as many years, including Andrey Sokol from Moscow and Alexandr Ermakov from Kiev. There is no indication these are the real names of the phishers, but the names are useful in pointing to other sites targeting Privnote since 2020.

DomainTools says other domains registered to Alexandr Ermakov include pirvnota[.]com, privatemessage[.]net, privatenote[.]io, and tornote[.]io.

A screenshot of the phishing domain privatemessage dot net.

The registration records for pirvnota[.]com at one point were updated from Andrey Sokol to “BPW” as the registrant organization, and “Tambov district” in the registrant state/province field. Searching DomainTools for domains that include both of these terms reveals pirwnote[.]com.

Other Privnote phishing domains that also phoned home to the same Internet address as pirwnote[.]com include privnode[.]com, privnate[.]com, and prevnóte[.]com. Pirwnote[.]com is currently selling security cameras made by the Chinese manufacturer Hikvision, via an Internet address based in Hong Kong.

It appears someone has gone to great lengths to make tornote[.]io seem like a legitimate website. For example, this account at Medium has authored more than a dozen blog posts in the past year singing the praises of Tornote as a secure, self-destructing messaging service. However, testing shows tornote[.]io will also replace any cryptocurrency addresses in messages with their own payment address. Continue reading

‘The Manipulaters’ Improve Phishing, Still Fail at Opsec

April 3, 2024

Roughly nine years ago, KrebsOnSecurity profiled a Pakistan-based cybercrime group called “The Manipulaters,” a sprawling web hosting network of phishing and spam delivery platforms. In January 2024, The Manipulaters pleaded with this author to unpublish previous stories about their work, claiming the group had turned over a new leaf and gone legitimate. But new research suggests that while they have improved the quality of their products and services, these nitwits still fail spectacularly at hiding their illegal activities.

In May 2015, KrebsOnSecurity published a brief writeup about the brazen Manipulaters team, noting that they openly operated hundreds of web sites selling tools designed to trick people into giving up usernames and passwords, or deploying malicious software on their PCs.

Manipulaters advertisement for “Office 365 Private Page with Antibot” phishing kit sold on the domain heartsender,com. “Antibot” refers to functionality that attempts to evade automated detection techniques, keeping a phish deployed as long as possible. Image: DomainTools.

The core brand of The Manipulaters has long been a shared cybercriminal identity named “Saim Raza,” who for the past decade has peddled a popular spamming and phishing service variously called “Fudtools,” “Fudpage,” “Fudsender,” “FudCo,” etc. The term “FUD” in those names stands for “Fully Un-Detectable,” and it refers to cybercrime resources that will evade detection by security tools like antivirus software or anti-spam appliances.

A September 2021 story here checked in on The Manipulaters, and found that Saim Raza and company were prospering under their FudCo brands, which they secretly managed from a front company called We Code Solutions.

That piece worked backwards from all of the known Saim Raza email addresses to identify Facebook profiles for multiple We Code Solutions employees, many of whom could be seen celebrating company anniversaries gathered around a giant cake with the words “FudCo” painted in icing.

Since that story ran, KrebsOnSecurity has heard from this Saim Raza identity on two occasions. The first was in the weeks following the Sept. 2021 piece, when one of Saim Raza’s known email addresses — bluebtcus@gmail.com — pleaded to have the story taken down.

“Hello, we already leave that fud etc before year,” the Saim Raza identity wrote. “Why you post us? Why you destroy our lifes? We never harm anyone. Please remove it.”

Not wishing to be manipulated by a phishing gang, KrebsOnSecurity ignored those entreaties. But on Jan. 14, 2024, KrebsOnSecurity heard from the same bluebtcus@gmail.com address, apropos of nothing.

“Please remove this article,” Sam Raza wrote, linking to the 2021 profile. “Please already my police register case on me. I already leave everything.”

Asked to elaborate on the police investigation, Saim Raza said they were freshly released from jail.

“I was there many days,” the reply explained. “Now back after bail. Now I want to start my new work.”

Exactly what that “new work” might entail, Saim Raza wouldn’t say. But a new report from researchers at DomainTools.com finds that several computers associated with The Manipulaters have been massively hacked by malicious data- and password-snarfing malware for quite some time.

DomainTools says the malware infections on Manipulaters PCs exposed “vast swaths of account-related data along with an outline of the group’s membership, operations, and position in the broader underground economy.”

“Curiously, the large subset of identified Manipulaters customers appear to be compromised by the same stealer malware,” DomainTools wrote. “All observed customer malware infections began after the initial compromise of Manipulaters PCs, which raises a number of questions regarding the origin of those infections.” Continue reading

Thread Hijacking: Phishes That Prey on Your Curiosity

March 28, 2024

Thread hijacking attacks. They happen when someone you know has their email account compromised, and you are suddenly dropped into an existing conversation between the sender and someone else. These missives draw on the recipient’s natural curiosity about being copied on a private discussion, which is modified to include a malicious link or attachment. Here’s the story of a thread hijacking attack in which a journalist was copied on a phishing email from the unwilling subject of a recent scoop.

In Sept. 2023, the Pennsylvania news outlet LancasterOnline.com published a story about Adam Kidan, a wealthy businessman with a criminal past who is a major donor to Republican causes and candidates, including Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa).

The LancasterOnline story about Adam Kidan.

Several months after that piece ran, the story’s author Brett Sholtis received two emails from Kidan, both of which contained attachments. One of the messages appeared to be a lengthy conversation between Kidan and a colleague, with the subject line, “Re: Successfully sent data.” The second missive was a more brief email from Kidan with the subject, “Acknowledge New Work Order,” and a message that read simply, “Please find the attached.”

Sholtis said he clicked the attachment in one of the messages, which then launched a web page that looked exactly like a Microsoft Office 365 login page. An analysis of the webpage reveals it would check any submitted credentials at the real Microsoft website, and return an error if the user entered bogus account information. A successful login would record the submitted credentials and forward the victim to the real Microsoft website.

But Sholtis said he didn’t enter his Outlook username and password. Instead, he forwarded the messages to LancasterOneline’s IT team, which quickly flagged them as phishing attempts.

LancasterOnline Executive Editor Tom Murse said the two phishing messages from Mr. Kidan raised eyebrows in the newsroom because Kidan had threatened to sue the news outlet multiple times over Sholtis’s story.

“We were just perplexed,” Murse said. “It seemed to be a phishing attempt but we were confused why it would come from a prominent businessman we’ve written about. Our initial response was confusion, but we didn’t know what else to do with it other than to send it to the FBI.” Continue reading

Recent ‘MFA Bombing’ Attacks Targeting Apple Users

March 26, 2024

Several Apple customers recently reported being targeted in elaborate phishing attacks that involve what appears to be a bug in Apple’s password reset feature. In this scenario, a target’s Apple devices are forced to display dozens of system-level prompts that prevent the devices from being used until the recipient responds “Allow” or “Don’t Allow” to each prompt. Assuming the user manages not to fat-finger the wrong button on the umpteenth password reset request, the scammers will then call the victim while spoofing Apple support in the caller ID, saying the user’s account is under attack and that Apple support needs to “verify” a one-time code.

Some of the many notifications Patel says he received from Apple all at once.

Parth Patel is an entrepreneur who is trying to build a startup in the conversational AI space. On March 23, Patel documented on Twitter/X a recent phishing campaign targeting him that involved what’s known as a “push bombing” or “MFA fatigue” attack, wherein the phishers abuse a feature or weakness of a multi-factor authentication (MFA) system in a way that inundates the target’s device(s) with alerts to approve a password change or login.

“All of my devices started blowing up, my watch, laptop and phone,” Patel told KrebsOnSecurity. “It was like this system notification from Apple to approve [a reset of the account password], but I couldn’t do anything else with my phone. I had to go through and decline like 100-plus notifications.”

Some people confronted with such a deluge may eventually click “Allow” to the incessant password reset prompts — just so they can use their phone again. Others may inadvertently approve one of these prompts, which will also appear on a user’s Apple watch if they have one.

But the attackers in this campaign had an ace up their sleeves: Patel said after denying all of the password reset prompts from Apple, he received a call on his iPhone that said it was from Apple Support (the number displayed was 1-800-275-2273, Apple’s real customer support line).

“I pick up the phone and I’m super suspicious,” Patel recalled. “So I ask them if they can verify some information about me, and after hearing some aggressive typing on his end he gives me all this information about me and it’s totally accurate.”

All of it, that is, except his real name. Patel said when he asked the fake Apple support rep to validate the name they had on file for the Apple account, the caller gave a name that was not his but rather one that Patel has only seen in background reports about him that are for sale at a people-search website called PeopleDataLabs.

Patel said he has worked fairly hard to remove his information from multiple people-search websites, and he found PeopleDataLabs uniquely and consistently listed this inaccurate name as an alias on his consumer profile.

“For some reason, PeopleDataLabs has three profiles that come up when you search for my info, and two of them are mine but one is an elementary school teacher from the midwest,” Patel said. “I asked them to verify my name and they said Anthony.”

Patel said the goal of the voice phishers is to trigger an Apple ID reset code to be sent to the user’s device, which is a text message that includes a one-time password. If the user supplies that one-time code, the attackers can then reset the password on the account and lock the user out. They can also then remotely wipe all of the user’s Apple devices.


Chris is a cryptocurrency hedge fund owner who asked that only his first name be used so as not to paint a bigger target on himself. Chris told KrebsOnSecurity he experienced a remarkably similar phishing attempt in late February.

“The first alert I got I hit ‘Don’t Allow’, but then right after that I got like 30 more notifications in a row,” Chris said. “I figured maybe I sat on my phone weird, or was accidentally pushing some button that was causing these, and so I just denied them all.”

Chris says the attackers persisted hitting his devices with the reset notifications for several days after that, and at one point he received a call on his iPhone that said it was from Apple support.

“I said I would call them back and hung up,” Chris said, demonstrating the proper response to such unbidden solicitations. “When I called back to the real Apple, they couldn’t say whether anyone had been in a support call with me just then. They just said Apple states very clearly that it will never initiate outbound calls to customers — unless the customer requests to be contacted.”

Massively freaking out that someone was trying to hijack his digital life, Chris said he changed his passwords and then went to an Apple store and bought a new iPhone. From there, he created a new Apple iCloud account using a brand new email address.

Chris said he then proceeded to get even more system alerts on his new iPhone and iCloud account — all the while still sitting at the local Apple Genius Bar.

Chris told KrebsOnSecurity his Genius Bar tech was mystified about the source of the alerts, but Chris said he suspects that whatever the phishers are abusing to rapidly generate these Apple system alerts requires knowing the phone number on file for the target’s Apple account. After all, that was the only aspect of Chris’s new iPhone and iCloud account that hadn’t changed. Continue reading

Mozilla Drops Onerep After CEO Admits to Running People-Search Networks

March 22, 2024

The nonprofit organization that supports the Firefox web browser said today it is winding down its new partnership with Onerep, an identity protection service recently bundled with Firefox that offers to remove users from hundreds of people-search sites. The move comes just days after a report by KrebsOnSecurity forced Onerep’s CEO to admit that he has founded dozens of people-search networks over the years.

Mozilla Monitor. Image Mozilla Monitor Plus video on Youtube.

Mozilla only began bundling Onerep in Firefox last month, when it announced the reputation service would be offered on a subscription basis as part of Mozilla Monitor Plus. Launched in 2018 under the name Firefox Monitor, Mozilla Monitor also checks data from the website Have I Been Pwned? to let users know when their email addresses or password are leaked in data breaches.

On March 14, KrebsOnSecurity published a story showing that Onerep’s Belarusian CEO and founder Dimitiri Shelest launched dozens of people-search services since 2010, including a still-active data broker called Nuwber that sells background reports on people. Onerep and Shelest did not respond to requests for comment on that story.

But on March 21, Shelest released a lengthy statement wherein he admitted to maintaining an ownership stake in Nuwber, a consumer data broker he founded in 2015 — around the same time he launched Onerep.

Shelest maintained that Nuwber has “zero cross-over or information-sharing with Onerep,” and said any other old domains that may be found and associated with his name are no longer being operated by him.

“I get it,” Shelest wrote. “My affiliation with a people search business may look odd from the outside. In truth, if I hadn’t taken that initial path with a deep dive into how people search sites work, Onerep wouldn’t have the best tech and team in the space. Still, I now appreciate that we did not make this more clear in the past and I’m aiming to do better in the future.” The full statement is available here (PDF).

Onerep CEO and founder Dimitri Shelest.

In a statement released today, a spokesperson for Mozilla said it was moving away from Onerep as a service provider in its Monitor Plus product.

“Though customer data was never at risk, the outside financial interests and activities of Onerep’s CEO do not align with our values,” Mozilla wrote. “We’re working now to solidify a transition plan that will provide customers with a seamless experience and will continue to put their interests first.” Continue reading

The Not-so-True People-Search Network from China

March 20, 2024

It’s not unusual for the data brokers behind people-search websites to use pseudonyms in their day-to-day lives (you would, too). Some of these personal data purveyors even try to reinvent their online identities in a bid to hide their conflicts of interest. But it’s not every day you run across a US-focused people-search network based in China whose principal owners all appear to be completely fabricated identities.

Responding to a reader inquiry concerning the trustworthiness of a site called TruePeopleSearch[.]net, KrebsOnSecurity began poking around. The site offers to sell reports containing photos, police records, background checks, civil judgments, contact information “and much more!” According to LinkedIn and numerous profiles on websites that accept paid article submissions, the founder of TruePeopleSearch is Marilyn Gaskell from Phoenix, Ariz.

The saucy yet studious LinkedIn profile for Marilyn Gaskell.

Ms. Gaskell has been quoted in multiple “articles” about random subjects, such as this article at HRDailyAdvisor about the pros and cons of joining a company-led fantasy football team.

“Marilyn Gaskell, founder of TruePeopleSearch, agrees that not everyone in the office is likely to be a football fan and might feel intimidated by joining a company league or left out if they don’t join; however, her company looked for ways to make the activity more inclusive,” this paid story notes.

Also quoted in this article is Sally Stevens, who is cited as HR Manager at FastPeopleSearch[.]io.

Sally Stevens, the phantom HR Manager for FastPeopleSearch.

“Fantasy football provides one way for employees to set aside work matters for some time and have fun,” Stevens contributed. “Employees can set a special league for themselves and regularly check and compare their scores against one another.”

Imagine that: Two different people-search companies mentioned in the same story about fantasy football. What are the odds?

Both TruePeopleSearch and FastPeopleSearch allow users to search for reports by first and last name, but proceeding to order a report prompts the visitor to purchase the file from one of several established people-finder services, including BeenVerified, Intelius, and Spokeo.

DomainTools.com shows that both TruePeopleSearch and FastPeopleSearch appeared around 2020 and were registered through Alibaba Cloud, in Beijing, China. No other information is available about these domains in their registration records, although both domains appear to use email servers based in China.

Sally Stevens’ LinkedIn profile photo is identical to a stock image titled “beautiful girl” from Adobe.com. Ms. Stevens is also quoted in a paid blog post at ecogreenequipment.com, as is Alina Clark, co-founder and marketing director of CocoDoc, an online service for editing and managing PDF documents.

The profile photo for Alina Clark is a stock photo appearing on more than 100 websites.

Scouring multiple image search sites reveals Ms. Clark’s profile photo on LinkedIn is another stock image that is currently on more than 100 different websites, including Adobe.com. Cocodoc[.]com was registered in June 2020 via Alibaba Cloud Beijing in China.

The same Alina Clark and photo materialized in a paid article at the website Ceoblognation, which in 2021 included her at #11 in a piece called “30 Entrepreneurs Describe The Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs) for Their Business.” It’s also worth noting that Ms. Clark is currently listed as a “former Forbes Council member” at the media outlet Forbes.com. Continue reading

CEO of Data Privacy Company Onerep.com Founded Dozens of People-Search Firms

March 14, 2024

The data privacy company Onerep.com bills itself as a Virginia-based service for helping people remove their personal information from almost 200 people-search websites. However, an investigation into the history of onerep.com finds this company is operating out of Belarus and Cyprus, and that its founder has launched dozens of people-search services over the years.

Onerep’s “Protect” service starts at $8.33 per month for individuals and $15/mo for families, and promises to remove your personal information from nearly 200 people-search sites. Onerep also markets its service to companies seeking to offer their employees the ability to have their data continuously removed from people-search sites.

A testimonial on onerep.com.

Customer case studies published on onerep.com state that it struck a deal to offer the service to employees of Permanente Medicine, which represents the doctors within the health insurance giant Kaiser Permanente. Onerep also says it has made inroads among police departments in the United States.

But a review of Onerep’s domain registration records and that of its founder reveal a different side to this company. Onerep.com says its founder and CEO is Dimitri Shelest from Minsk, Belarus, as does Shelest’s profile on LinkedIn. Historic registration records indexed by DomainTools.com say Mr. Shelest was a registrant of onerep.com who used the email address dmitrcox2@gmail.com.

A search in the data breach tracking service Constella Intelligence for the name Dimitri Shelest brings up the email address dimitri.shelest@onerep.com. Constella also finds that Dimitri Shelest from Belarus used the email address d.sh@nuwber.com, and the Belarus phone number +375-292-702786.

Nuwber.com is a people search service whose employees all appear to be from Belarus, and it is one of dozens of people-search companies that Onerep claims to target with its data-removal service. Onerep.com’s website disavows any relationship to Nuwber.com, stating quite clearly, “Please note that OneRep is not associated with Nuwber.com.”

However, there is an abundance of evidence suggesting Mr. Shelest is in fact the founder of Nuwber. Constella found that Minsk telephone number (375-292-702786) has been used multiple times in connection with the email address dmitrcox@gmail.com. Recall that Onerep.com’s domain registration records in 2018 list the email address dmitrcox2@gmail.com.

It appears Mr. Shelest sought to reinvent his online identity in 2015 by adding a “2” to his email address. The Belarus phone number tied to Nuwber.com shows up in the domain records for comversus.com, and DomainTools says this domain is tied to both dmitrcox@gmail.com and dmitrcox2@gmail.com. Other domains that mention both email addresses in their WHOIS records include careon.me, docvsdoc.com, dotcomsvdot.com, namevname.com, okanyway.com and tapanyapp.com.

Onerep.com CEO and founder Dimitri Shelest, as pictured on the “about” page of onerep.com.

A search in DomainTools for the email address dmitrcox@gmail.com shows it is associated with the registration of at least 179 domain names, including dozens of mostly now-defunct people-search companies targeting citizens of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia and Mexico, among others.

Those include nuwber.fr, a site registered in 2016 which was identical to the homepage of Nuwber.com at the time. DomainTools shows the same email and Belarus phone number are in historic registration records for nuwber.at, nuwber.ch, and nuwber.dk (all domains linked here are to their cached copies at archive.org, where available).

Nuwber.com, circa 2015. Image: Archive.org.

Update, March 21, 11:15 a.m. ET: Mr. Shelest has provided a lengthy response to the findings in this story. In summary, Shelest acknowledged maintaining an ownership stake in Nuwber, but said there was “zero cross-over or information-sharing with OneRep.” Mr. Shelest said any other old domains that may be found and associated with his name are no longer being operated by him.

“I get it,” Shelest wrote. “My affiliation with a people search business may look odd from the outside. In truth, if I hadn’t taken that initial path with a deep dive into how people search sites work, Onerep wouldn’t have the best tech and team in the space. Still, I now appreciate that we did not make this more clear in the past and I’m aiming to do better in the future.” The full statement is available here (PDF).

Original story:

Historic WHOIS records for onerep.com show it was registered for many years to a resident of Sioux Falls, SD for a completely unrelated site. But around Sept. 2015 the domain switched from the registrar GoDaddy.com to eNom, and the registration records were hidden behind privacy protection services. DomainTools indicates around this time onerep.com started using domain name servers from DNS provider constellix.com. Likewise, Nuwber.com first appeared in late 2015, was also registered through eNom, and also started using constellix.com for DNS at nearly the same time.

Listed on LinkedIn as a former product manager at OneRep.com between 2015 and 2018 is Dimitri Bukuyazau, who says their hometown is Warsaw, Poland. While this LinkedIn profile (linkedin.com/in/dzmitrybukuyazau) does not mention Nuwber, a search on this name in Google turns up a 2017 blog post from privacyduck.com, which laid out a number of reasons to support a conclusion that OneRep and Nuwber.com were the same company.

“Any people search profiles containing your Personally Identifiable Information that were on Nuwber.com were also mirrored identically on OneRep.com, down to the relatives’ names and address histories,” Privacyduck.com wrote. The post continued:

“Both sites offered the same immediate opt-out process. Both sites had the same generic contact and support structure. They were – and remain – the same company (even PissedConsumer.com advocates this fact: https://nuwber.pissedconsumer.com/nuwber-and-onerep-20160707878520.html).”

“Things changed in early 2016 when OneRep.com began offering privacy removal services right alongside their own open displays of your personal information. At this point when you found yourself on Nuwber.com OR OneRep.com, you would be provided with the option of opting-out your data on their site for free – but also be highly encouraged to pay them to remove it from a slew of other sites (and part of that payment was removing you from their own site, Nuwber.com, as a benefit of their service).”

Reached via LinkedIn, Mr. Bukuyazau declined to answer questions, such as whether he ever worked at Nuwber.com. However, Constella Intelligence finds two interesting email addresses for employees at nuwber.com: d.bu@nuwber.com, and d.bu+figure-eight.com@nuwber.com, which was registered under the name “Dzmitry.”

PrivacyDuck’s claims about how onerep.com appeared and behaved in the early days are not readily verifiable because the domain onerep.com has been completely excluded from the Wayback Machine at archive.org. The Wayback Machine will honor such requests if they come directly from the owner of the domain in question.

Still, Mr. Shelest’s name, phone number and email also appear in the domain registration records for a truly dizzying number of country-specific people-search services, including pplcrwlr.in, pplcrwlr.fr, pplcrwlr.dk, pplcrwlr.jp, peeepl.br.com, peeepl.in, peeepl.it and peeepl.co.uk.

The same details appear in the WHOIS registration records for the now-defunct people-search sites waatpp.de, waatp1.fr, azersab.com, and ahavoila.com, a people-search service for French citizens. Continue reading