Category Archives: A Little Sunshine

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

U.S. Govt. Apps Bundled Russian Code With Ties to Mobile Malware Developer

November 28, 2022

A recent scoop by Reuters revealed that mobile apps for the U.S. Army and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were integrating software that sends visitor data to a Russian company called Pushwoosh, which claims to be based in the United States. But that story omitted an important historical detail about Pushwoosh: In 2013, one of its developers admitted to authoring the Pincer Trojan, malware designed to surreptitiously intercept and forward text messages from Android mobile devices.

Researchers Quietly Cracked Zeppelin Ransomware Keys

November 17, 2022

Peter is an IT manager for a technology manufacturer that got hit with a Russian ransomware strain called “Zeppelin” in May 2020. He’d been on the job less than six months, and because of the way his predecessor architected things,… Read More »

Disneyland Malware Team: It’s a Puny World After All

November 16, 2022

A financial cybercrime group calling itself the Disneyland Team has been making liberal use of visually confusing phishing domains that spoof popular bank brands using Punycode, an Internet standard that allows web browsers to render domain names with non-Latin alphabets like Cyrillic and Ukrainian.

Lawsuit Seeks Food Benefits Stolen By Skimmers

November 10, 2022

A nonprofit organization is suing the state of Massachusetts on behalf of thousands of low-income families who were collectively robbed of more than a $1 million in food assistance benefits by card skimming devices secretly installed at cash machines and grocery store checkout lanes across the state. Federal law bars states from replacing these benefits using federal funds, and a recent rash of skimming incidents nationwide has disproportionately affected those receiving food assistance via state-issued prepaid debit cards.

LinkedIn Adds Verified Emails, Profile Creation Dates

November 4, 2022

For whatever reason, the majority of the phony LinkedIn profiles reviewed by this author have involved young women with profile photos that appear to be generated by artificial intelligence (AI) tools.

We’re seeing rapid advances in AI-based synthetic image generation technology and we’ve created a deep learning model to better catch profiles made with this technology. AI-based image generators can create an unlimited number of unique, high-quality profile photos that do not correspond to real people. Fake accounts sometimes use these convincing, AI-generated profile photos to make their fake LinkedIn profile appear more authentic.

Hacker Charged With Extorting Online Psychotherapy Service

November 3, 2022

A 25-year-old Finnish man has been charged with extorting a once popular and now-bankrupt online psychotherapy company and its patients. Finnish authorities rarely name suspects in an investigation, but they were willing to make an exception for Julius “Zeekill” Kivimaki, a notorious hacker who — at the tender age of 17 — had been convicted of more than 50,000 cybercrimes, including data breaches, payment fraud, operating botnets, and calling in bomb threats.

Accused ‘Raccoon’ Malware Developer Fled Ukraine After Russian Invasion

October 31, 2022

A 26-year-old Ukrainian man is awaiting extradition to the United States on charges that he acted as a core developer for Raccoon, a “malware-as-a-service” offering that helped paying customers steal passwords and financial data from millions of cybercrime victims. KrebsOnSecurity has learned that the defendant was busted in March 2022, after fleeing mandatory military service in Ukraine in the weeks following the Russian invasion.

Battle with Bots Prompts Mass Purge of Amazon, Apple Employee Accounts on LinkedIn

October 20, 2022

On October 10, 2022, there were 576,562 LinkedIn accounts that listed their current employer as Apple Inc. The next day, half of those profiles no longer existed. A similarly dramatic drop in the number of LinkedIn profiles claiming employment at Amazon comes as LinkedIn is struggling to combat a significant uptick in the creation of fake employee accounts that pair AI-generated profile photos with text lifted from legitimate users.

Anti-Money Laundering Service AMLBot Cleans House

October 15, 2022

AMLBot, a service that helps businesses avoid transacting with cryptocurrency wallets that have been sanctioned for cybercrime activity, said an investigation published by KrebsOnSecurity last year helped it shut down three dark web services that secretly resold its technology to help cybercrooks avoid detection by anti-money laundering systems.

Report: Big U.S. Banks Are Stiffing Account Takeover Victims

October 7, 2022

When U.S. consumers have their online bank accounts hijacked and plundered by hackers, U.S. financial institutions are legally obligated to reverse any unauthorized transactions as long as the victim reports the fraud in a timely manner. But new data released this week suggests that for some of the nation’s largest banks, reimbursing account takeover victims has become more the exception than the rule.