[This is Part III in a series on research conducted for a recent Hulu documentary on the 2015 hack of marital infidelity website AshleyMadison.com.]
In 2019, a Canadian company called Defiant Tech Inc. pleaded guilty to running LeakedSource[.]com, a service that sold access to billions of passwords and other data exposed in countless data breaches. KrebsOnSecurity has learned that the owner of Defiant Tech, a 32-year-old Ontario man named Jordan Evan Bloom, was hired in late 2014 as a developer for the marital infidelity site AshleyMadison.com. Bloom resigned from AshleyMadison citing health reasons in June 2015 — less than one month before unidentified hackers stole data on 37 million users — and launched LeakedSource three months later.
[This is Part II of a story published here last week on reporting that went into a new Hulu documentary series on the 2015 Ashley Madison hack.]
It was around 9 p.m. on Sunday, July 19, when I received a message through the contact form on KrebsOnSecurity.com that the marital infidelity website AshleyMadison.com had been hacked. The message contained links to confidential Ashley Madison documents, and included a manifesto that said a hacker group calling itself the Impact Team was prepared to leak data on all 37 million users unless Ashley Madison and a sister property voluntarily closed down within 30 days.
Nikita Kislitsin, formerly the head of network security for one of Russia’s top cybersecurity firms, was arrested last week in Kazakhstan in response to 10-year-old hacking charges from the U.S. Department of Justice. Experts say Kislitsin’s prosecution could soon put the Kazakhstan government in a sticky diplomatic position, as the Kremlin is already signaling that it intends to block his extradition to the United States.
Joseph James “PlugwalkJoe” O’Connor, a 24-year-old from the United Kingdom who earned his 15 minutes of fame by participating in the July 2020 hack of Twitter, has been sentenced to five years in a U.S. prison. That may seem like harsh punishment for a brief and very public cyber joy ride. But O’Connor also pleaded guilty in a separate investigation involving a years-long spree of cyberstalking and cryptocurrency theft enabled by “SIM swapping,” a crime wherein fraudsters trick a mobile provider into diverting a customer’s phone calls and text messages to a device they control.
If you operate a cybercrime business that relies on disseminating malicious software, you probably also spend a good deal of time trying to disguise or “crypt” your malware so that it appears benign to antivirus and security products. In fact, the process of “crypting” malware is sufficiently complex and time-consuming that most serious cybercrooks will outsource this critical function to a handful of trusted third parties. This story explores the history and identity behind Cryptor[.]biz, a long-running crypting service that is trusted by some of the biggest names in cybercrime.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.