Author Archives: BrianKrebs

Service Rents Email Addresses for Account Signups

June 6, 2023

One of the most expensive aspects of any cybercriminal operation is the time and effort it takes to create large numbers of new throwaway email accounts. Now a new service offers to help dramatically cut costs associated with large-scale spam and account creation campaigns, by paying people to sell their email account credentials and letting customers temporarily rent access to a vast pool of established accounts at major providers.

Ask Fitis, the Bear: Real Crooks Sign Their Malware

June 1, 2023

Code-signing certificates are supposed to help authenticate the identity of software publishers, and provide cryptographic assurance that a signed piece of software has not been altered or tampered with. Both of these qualities make stolen or ill-gotten code-signing certificates attractive to cybercriminal groups, who prize their ability to add stealth and longevity to malicious software. This post is a deep dive on “Megatraffer,” a veteran Russian hacker who has practically cornered the underground market for malware focused code-signing certificates since 2015.

Phishing Domains Tanked After Meta Sued Freenom

May 26, 2023

The number of phishing websites tied to domain name registrar Freenom dropped precipitously in the months surrounding a recent lawsuit from social networking giant Meta, which alleged the free domain name provider has a long history of ignoring abuse complaints about phishing websites while monetizing traffic to those abusive domains.

Interview With a Crypto Scam Investment Spammer

May 22, 2023

Social networks are constantly battling inauthentic bot accounts that send direct messages to users promoting scam cryptocurrency investment platforms. What follows is an interview with a Russian hacker responsible for a series of aggressive crypto spam campaigns that recently prompted several large Mastodon communities to temporarily halt new registrations. According to the hacker, their spam software has been in private use until the last few weeks, when it was released as open source code.

Russian Hacker “Wazawaka” Indicted for Ransomware

May 16, 2023

A Russian man identified by KrebsOnSecurity in January 2022 as a prolific and vocal member of several top ransomware groups was the subject of two indictments unsealed by the Justice Department today. U.S. prosecutors say Mikhail Pavolovich Matveev, a.k.a. “Wazawaka” and “Boriselcin” worked with three different ransomware gangs that extorted hundreds of millions of dollars from companies, schools, hospitals and government agencies.

Re-Victimization from Police-Auctioned Cell Phones

May 16, 2023

Countless smartphones seized in arrests and searches by police forces across the United States are being auctioned online without first having the data on them erased, a practice that can lead to crime victims being re-victimized, a new study found. In response, the largest online marketplace for items seized in U.S. law enforcement investigations says it now ensures that all phones sold through its platform will be data-wiped prior to auction.

Feds Take Down 13 More DDoS-for-Hire Services

May 9, 2023

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) this week seized 13 domain names connected to “booter” services that let paying customers launch crippling distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Ten of the domains are reincarnations of DDoS-for-hire services the FBI seized in December 2022, when it charged six U.S. men with computer crimes for allegedly operating booters.

$10M Is Yours If You Can Get This Guy to Leave Russia

May 4, 2023

The U.S. government this week put a $10 million bounty on the head of a Russian man who for the past 18 years operated Try2Check, one of the cybercrime underground’s most trusted services for checking the validity of stolen credit card data. U.S. authorities say 43-year-old Denis Kulkov’s card-checking service made him at least $18 million, which he used to buy a Ferrari, Land Rover, and other luxury items.