Author Archives: BrianKrebs

Fla. Man Charged in SIM-Swapping Spree is Key Suspect in Hacker Groups Oktapus, Scattered Spider

January 30, 2024

On Jan. 9, 2024, U.S. authorities arrested a 19-year-old Florida man charged with wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and conspiring with others to use SIM-swapping to steal cryptocurrency. Sources close to the investigation tell KrebsOnSecurity the accused was a key member of a criminal hacking group blamed for a string of cyber intrusions at major U.S. technology companies during the summer of 2022.

Who is Alleged Medibank Hacker Aleksandr Ermakov?

January 26, 2024

Authorities in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States this week levied financial sanctions against a Russian man accused of stealing data on nearly 10 million customers of the Australian health insurance giant Medibank. 33-year-old Aleksandr Ermakov allegedly stole and leaked the Medibank data while working with one of Russia’s most destructive ransomware groups, but little more is shared about the accused. Here’s a closer look at the activities of Mr. Ermakov’s alleged hacker handles.

Using Google Search to Find Software Can Be Risky

January 25, 2024

Google continues to struggle with cybercriminals running malicious ads on its search platform to trick people into downloading booby-trapped copies of popular free software applications. The malicious ads, which appear above organic search results and often precede links to legitimate sources of the same software, can make searching for software on Google a dicey affair.

Canadian Man Stuck in Triangle of E-Commerce Fraud

January 19, 2024

A Canadian man who says he’s been falsely charged with orchestrating a complex e-commerce scam is seeking to clear his name. His case appears to involve “triangulation fraud,” which occurs when a consumer purchases something online — from a seller on Amazon or eBay, for example — but the seller doesn’t actually own the item for sale. Instead, the seller purchases the item from an online retailer using stolen payment card data. In this scam, the unwitting buyer pays the scammer and receives what they ordered, and very often the only party left to dispute the transaction is the owner of the stolen payment card.

E-Crime Rapper ‘Punchmade Dev’ Debuts Card Shop

January 17, 2024

The rapper and social media personality Punchmade Dev is perhaps best known for his flashy videos singing the praises of a cybercrime lifestyle. With memorable hits such as “Internet Swiping” and “Million Dollar Criminal” earning millions of views, Punchmade has leveraged his considerable following to peddle tutorials on how to commit financial crimes online. But until recently, there wasn’t much to support a conclusion that Punchmade was actually doing the cybercrime things he promotes in his songs.

Meet Ika & Sal: The Bulletproof Hosting Duo from Hell

January 8, 2024

In 2020, the United States brought charges against four men accused of building a bulletproof hosting empire that once dominated the Russian cybercrime industry and supported multiple organized cybercrime groups. All four pleaded guilty to conspiracy and racketeering charges. But there is a fascinating and untold backstory behind the two Russian men involved, who co-ran Russia’s most popular spam forum for years.

Happy 14th Birthday, KrebsOnSecurity!

December 29, 2023

KrebsOnSecurity celebrates its 14th year of existence today! I promised myself this post wouldn’t devolve into yet another Cybersecurity Year in Review. Nor do I wish to hold forth about whatever cyber horrors may await us in 2024. But I do want to thank you all for your continued readership, encouragement and support, without which I could not do what I do.

BlackCat Ransomware Raises Ante After FBI Disruption

December 19, 2023

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) disclosed today that it infiltrated the world’s second most prolific ransomware gang, a Russia-based criminal group known as ALPHV and BlackCat. The FBI said it seized the gang’s darknet website, and released a decryption tool that hundreds of victim companies can use to recover systems. Meanwhile, BlackCat responded by briefly “unseizing” its darknet site with a message promising 90 percent commissions for affiliates who continue to work with the crime group, and open season on everything from hospitals to nuclear power plants.

Ten Years Later, New Clues in the Target Breach

December 14, 2023

On Dec. 18, 2013, KrebsOnSecurity broke the news that U.S. retail giant Target was battling a wide-ranging computer intrusion that compromised more than 40 million customer payment cards over the previous month. The malware used in the Target breach included the text string “Rescator,” which also was the handle chosen by the cybercriminal who was selling all of the cards stolen from Target customers. Ten years later, KrebsOnSecurity has uncovered new clues about the real-life identity of Rescator.