Posts Tagged: jeffrey carr


16
Dec 10

Russian Police Only Translate the Good News

Internet security and cybercrime experts often complain that Russian law enforcement agencies don’t place a high priority on investigating and arresting hackers in that country. While that criticism may be fair, it may also be that Russian bureaucrats simply do not wish to call any attention to any sort of crime in their country — at least not to Westerners’ view.

I discovered something fascinating while searching for information on the Web site of the Russian Interior Ministry (MVD), the organization that runs the police departments in each Russian city: The Russian version of the site features dozens of stories every day about police corruption, theft, murder, extortion, drug trafficking and all manner of badness. If, however, you opt to view the English version of the site, the MVD shows you only news with a positive slant.

Here are all of the MVD news headlines on the English version of the site for Dec. 14:

“Photo-exhibition ‘Ministry of Interior. Open lens’ opened in trading and entertaining center in Perm”
“Photo exhibition ‘Open lens’ opened at Internal Affairs Directorate in Tomsk region”
“‘Round table meeting'” devoted to interaction of militia and youth associations took place in Kaluga”
“Krasnoyarsk militia officers rescued life of man”
“Ryazan militia officer is awarded medal of RF Ombudsman”
“Visit of police officer of state Washington, assistant to sheriff of district King Steve Bitsa to Sakhalin has finished
National team of Petersburg Central Internal Affairs Directorate won world mini-football tournament
Campaign ‘Tell your friend about traffic safety rules’ took place in Adygea

And here are just a few headlines (roughly Google-translated) from the dozens of press releases on the Russian version of the MVD’s site for that same day:

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13
Feb 10

Warning About ZeuS Attack Used as Lure

Criminals have co-opted a column I wrote last week about ZeuS Trojan attacks targeted at government and military systems: Scam artists are now spamming out messages that include the first few paragraphs of that story in a bid to trick recipients into downloading the very same Trojan, disguised as a Microsoft security update.

Hat tip to security firm Sophos for spotting this vaguely elliptical attack. It is sometimes said tongue-in-cheek that plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery, but I wish these crooks would find some other way of expressing their admiration.

The thing is, these sorts of copycat scams also serve as as a sort of token reputation attack, a sly dig that is often aimed at security researchers. For example, Jeffrey Carr, the author of the recent book Inside Cyber Warfare and a frequent publisher of information on the sources of large scale cyber assaults, told me that a similar spam campaign a few days ago that mimicked the targeted .mil and .gov Zeus attacks was made to look like it came from his e-mail address. Carr said the campaign that abused his name probably was in response to his recent blog post about the .mil and .gov attacks.