A jury in California today reached a guilty verdict in the trial of Matthew Gatrel, a St. Charles, Ill. man charged in 2018 with operating two online services that allowed paying customers to launch powerful distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against Internet users and websites. Gatrel’s conviction comes roughly two weeks after his co-conspirator pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to running the services.
In May 2015, KrebsOnSecurity briefly profiled “The Manipulaters,” the name chosen by a prolific cybercrime group based in Pakistan that was very publicly selling spam tools and a range of services for crafting, hosting and deploying malicious email. Six years later, a review of the social media postings from this group shows they are prospering, while rather poorly hiding their activities behind a software development firm in Lahore that has secretly enabled an entire generation of spammers and scammers.
Over the past 15 years, a cybercrime anonymity service known as VIP72 has enabled countless fraudsters to mask their true location online by routing their traffic through millions of malware-infected systems. But roughly two week ago, VIP72’s online storefront — which sold access to more than 30,000 compromised PCs — simply vanished.
In 2018, Andrew Schober was digitally mugged for approximately $1 million worth of bitcoin. After several years of working with investigators, Schober says he’s confident he has located two young men in the United Kingdom responsible for developing a clever piece of digital clipboard-stealing malware that let them siphon his crypto holdings. Schober is now suing each of their parents in a civil case that seeks to extract what their children would not return voluntarily.
I was preparing to knock off work on a recent Friday evening when a curious and annoying email came in via the contact form on this site:
“Hello I go by the username Nuclear27 on your site Briansclub[.]com,” wrote “Mitch,” confusing me with the proprietor of perhaps the underground’s largest bazaar for stolen credit and identity data. “I made a deposit to my wallet on the site but nothing has shown up yet and I would like to know why.”
Several things stood out in Mitch’s message. For starters, that is not the actual domain for BriansClub. And it’s not hard to see why Mitch got snookered: The real BriansClub site is currently not at the top of search results when one queries that shop name at Google.
One day after last summer’s mass-hack of Twitter, KrebsOnSecurity wrote that 22-year-old British citizen Joseph “PlugwalkJoe” O’Connor appeared to have been involved in the incident. When the Justice Department last week announced O’Connor’s arrest and indictment, his alleged role in the Twitter compromise was well covered in the media.
But most of the coverage so far seem to have overlooked the far more sinister criminal charges in the indictment, which involve an underground scene wherein young men turn to extortion, sextortion, SIM swapping, death threats and physical attacks — all in a bid to seize control over highly-prized social media accounts.
A federal judge in Connecticut today handed down a sentence of time served to spam kingpin Peter “Severa” Levashov, a prolific purveyor of malicious and junk email, and the creator of malware strains that infected millions of Microsoft computers globally. Levashov has been in federal custody since his extradition to the United States and guilty plea in 2018, and was facing up to 12 more years in prison. Instead, he will go free under three years of supervised release and a possible fine.
Imagine waking up each morning knowing the identities of thousands of people who are about to be mugged for thousands of dollars each. You know exactly when and where each of those muggings will take place, and you’ve shared this information in advance with the authorities each day for a year with no outward indication that they are doing anything about it. How frustrated would you be?
Such is the curse of the fraud fighter known online by the handles “Brianna Ware” and “BWare” for short, a longtime member of a global group of volunteers who’ve infiltrated a cybercrime gang that disseminates fraudulent checks tied to a dizzying number of online scams.
Authorities in Ukraine this week charged six people alleged to have been part of the CLOP ransomware group, a cybercriminal gang said to have extorted more than half a billion dollars from victims. Some of CLOP’s victims this year alone include Stanford University Medical School, the University of California, and University of Maryland.