Category Archives: A Little Sunshine

Includes investigative blog posts meant to shine a light on the darker corners of the Internet.

Scary Fraud Ensues When ID Theft & Usury Collide

January 25, 2022

What’s worse than finding out that identity thieves took out a 546 percent interest payday loan in your name? How about a 900 percent interest loan? Or how about not learning of the fraudulent loan until it gets handed off to collection agents? One reader’s nightmare experience spotlights what can happen when ID thieves and hackers start targeting online payday lenders.

Crime Shop Sells Hacked Logins to Other Crime Shops

January 21, 2022

Up for the “Most Meta Cybercrime Offering” award this year is Accountz Club, a new cybercrime store that sells access to purloined accounts at services built for cybercriminals, including shops peddling stolen payment cards and identities, spamming tools, email and phone bombing services, and those selling authentication cookies for a slew of popular websites.

IRS Will Soon Require Selfies for Online Access

January 19, 2022

If you created an online account to manage your tax records with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), those login credentials will cease to work later this year. The agency says that by the summer of 2022, the only way to log in to irs.gov will be through ID.me, an online identity verification service that requires applicants to submit copies of bills and identity documents, as well as a live video feed of their faces via a mobile device.

500M Avira Antivirus Users Introduced to Cryptomining

January 8, 2022

Many readers were surprised to learn recently that the popular Norton 360 antivirus suite now ships with a program which lets customers make money mining virtual currency. But Norton 360 isn’t alone in this dubious endeavor: Avira antivirus — which has built a base of 500 million users worldwide largely by making the product free — was recently bought by the same company that owns Norton 360 and is introducing its customers to a service called Avira Crypto.

Norton 360 Now Comes With a Cryptominer

January 6, 2022

Norton 360, one of the most popular antivirus products on the market today, has installed a cryptocurrency mining program on its customers’ computers. Norton’s parent firm says the cloud-based service that activates the program and enables customers to profit from the scheme — in which the company keeps 15 percent of any currencies mined — is “opt-in,” meaning users have to agree to enable it. But many Norton users complain the mining program is difficult to remove, and reactions from longtime customers have ranged from unease and disbelief to, “Dude, where’s my crypto?”

Inside Ireland’s Public Healthcare Ransomware Scare

December 13, 2021

The accounting firm PricewatersCoopers recently published lessons learned from the disruptive and costly ransomware attack in May 2021 on Ireland’s public health system. The unusually candid post-mortem found that nearly two months elapsed between the initial intrusion and the launching of the ransomware. It also found affected hospitals had tens of thousand of outdated Windows 7 systems, and that the health system’s IT administrators failed to respond to multiple warning signs that a massive attack was imminent.

Canada Charges Its “Most Prolific Cybercriminal”

December 8, 2021

A 31-year-old Canadian man has been arrested and charged with fraud in connection with numerous ransomware attacks against businesses, government agencies and private citizens throughout Canada and the United States. Canadian authorities describe him as “the most prolific cybercriminal we’ve identified in Canada,” but so far they’ve released few other details about the investigation or the defendant. Helpfully, an email address and nickname apparently connected to the accused offer some additional clues.

Ubiquiti Developer Charged With Extortion, Causing 2020 “Breach”

December 2, 2021

In January 2021, technology vendor Ubiquiti Inc. [NYSE:UI] disclosed that a breach at a third party cloud provider had exposed customer account credentials. In March, a Ubiquiti employee warned that the company had drastically understated the scope of the incident, and that the third-party cloud provider claim was a fabrication. On Wednesday, a former Ubiquiti developer was arrested and charged with stealing data and trying to extort his employer while pretending to be a whistleblower.

The Internet is Held Together With Spit & Baling Wire

November 26, 2021

Imagine being able to disconnect or redirect Internet traffic destined for some of the world’s largest companies — just by spoofing an email. This is the nature of a threat vector recently removed by a Fortune 500 firm that operates one of the world’s largest Internet backbones.

The ‘Zelle Fraud’ Scam: How it Works, How to Fight Back

November 19, 2021

One of the more common ways cybercriminals cash out access to bank accounts involves draining the victim’s funds via Zelle, a “peer-to-peer” (P2P) payment service used by many financial institutions that allows customers to quickly send cash to friends and family. Naturally, a great deal of phishing schemes that precede these bank account takeovers begin with a spoofed text message from the target’s bank warning about a suspicious Zelle transfer. What follows is a deep dive into how this increasingly clever Zelle fraud scam typically works, and what victims can do about it.