Category Archives: Ne’er-Do-Well News

PlugwalkJoe Does the Perp Walk

July 26, 2021

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.

Spam Kingpin Peter Levashov Gets Time Served

July 20, 2021

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.

We Infiltrated a Counterfeit Check Ring! Now What?

June 30, 2021

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.

Ukrainian Police Nab Six Tied to CLOP Ransomware

June 16, 2021

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.

How Does One Get Hired by a Top Cybercrime Gang?

June 15, 2021

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) last week announced the arrest of a 55-year-old Latvian woman who’s alleged to have worked as a programmer for Trickbot, a malware-as-a-service platform responsible for infecting millions of computers and seeding many of those systems with ransomware.

Just how did a self-employed web site designer and mother of two come to work for one of the world’s most rapacious cybercriminal groups and then leave such an obvious trail of clues indicating her involvement with the gang? This post explores answers to those questions, as well as some of the ways Trickbot and other organized cybercrime gangs gradually recruit, groom and trust new programmers.

Justice Dept. Claws Back $2.3M Paid by Colonial Pipeline to Ransomware Gang

June 7, 2021

The U.S. Department of Justice said today it has recovered $2.3 million worth of Bitcoin that Colonial Pipeline paid to ransomware extortionists last month. The funds had been sent to DarkSide, a ransomware-as-a-service syndicate that disbanded after a May 14 farewell message to affiliates saying its Internet servers and cryptocurrency stash were seized by unknown law enforcement entities.

Boss of ATM Skimming Syndicate Arrested in Mexico

May 28, 2021

Florian “The Shark” Tudor, the alleged ringleader of a prolific ATM skimming gang that has stolen hundreds of millions from tourists visiting Mexico over the past eight years, was arrested in Mexico City on Thursday in response to an extradition warrant from a Romanian court.

DarkSide Ransomware Gang Quits After Servers, Bitcoin Stash Seized

May 14, 2021

The DarkSide ransomware affiliate program responsible for the six-day outage at Colonial Pipeline this week that led to fuel shortages and price spikes across the country is running for the hills. The crime gang announced it was closing up shop after its servers were seized and someone drained funds from an account the group uses to pay affiliates.