Israeli police arrested two men alleged to be the co-owners of an attack-for-hire service, according to KrebsOnSecurity. The pair was arrested around the same time that KrebsOnSecurity published an earlier story naming them as the masterminds behind a service called vDOS that can be hired to knock Web sites offline with powerful blasts of junk data.
vDOS — a “booter” service, earned more than $600,000 over the last two years helping customers coordinate more than 150,000 distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks to knock websites offline, according to Krebs. vDOS recently suffered an attack itself, releasing information about tens of thousands of customers and their targets.
Service Sold On Underground Forums
The operators of vDOS were young Israeli hackers going by the names AppleJ4ck and P1st a.k.a. P1st0, Krebs reported. The pair marketed their service primarily on hack forums, offering monthly subscriptions from $20 to $200 per month. AppleJ4ck used the same nickname on Hack forums, while P1st used “M30w.”
Police arrested Yarden Bidani and Itay Hari, both 18, in connection with an FBI investigation, according to the Israeli news site, TheMarker.com.
The men were reportedly released Friday after questioning on the equivalent of about USD $10,000 bond each. Israeli police also seized their passports, put them under house arrest for 10 days, and prohibited them from using the Internet or telecommunications equipment for 30 days.
Krebs obtained a copy of the hacked database.
Krebs Suffers DDoS Attack
Krebs suffered a sustained DDoS attack for most of Friday, which spiked at nearly 140 Gaps. A message buried in each attack packet read: “godiefaggot.” The site was inoperable for a brief period, but it is guarded by Prolexic/Akamai DDoS protection. The attacks continue.
The men were fairly open about their activities, according to Krebs. Yarden’s Facebook page, now abandoned, contained messages that refer to him by his hacker nickname “AppleJ4ck,” and discusses DDoS activities.
vDOS’s customer support system was programmed to send a text message to Huri’s phone number, the same number listed in the website registration records for the domain v-email which proprietors used to manage the site.
Attackers Wrote About DDoS
The two men authored a technical paper in the Israeli security e-zine, Digital Whisper, in August on DDoS attack methods. Huri signed his real name. Bidani co-authored the paper under the “Raziel.firstname.lastname@example.org,” an email address assigned to one of the vDOS administrators.
vDOS went offline on Friday. Before going offline at least four servers hosted in Bulgaria at a provider called Verdina.net supported the site.
Attackers Suffer Counterattack
According to automated Twitter feeds that track suspicious changes to the global Internet routing tables, sometime in the last 24 hours, vDOS fell victim to a BGP hijack.
In a BGP hijacking, one ISP fraudulently announces to all ISPs that it is the rightful custodian of some Internet addresses that it doesn’t have the right to control. It is a type of hack usually associated with spamming.
According to Twitter feeds, a firm called BackConnect Security hijacked the vDOS Internet addresses.
Bryant Townsend, founder and CEO of BackConnect Security, confirmed his company hijacked Verdina/vDOS’s Internet address space. He said his company took the measure to escape an attack launched Thursday, and that the company got an email from vDOS taking credit for the attack.
Townsend said attacks of more than 200 Gbps struck for about six hours. The company was trying to get the attacks to stop and to gather information about the botnet they were using and report it to authorities.
vDOS has been in operation since September of 2012, so it is likely the recent attacks are a small subset of this DDoS-for-hire service.
Image from iStock/zwawol and Shutterstock.
The Pirate Bay is Hijacking PCs to Stealth-Mine Cryptocurrency
For the second time in as many months, The Pirate Bay has been caught mining cryptocurrency on your computer without consent. The torrent platform was actually test-driving cryptocurrency mining in your browser – no doubt a lucrative revenue stream.
The Pirates Are At It Again
The news was later confirmed by Bleeping Computer, which reported that,”The Pirate Bay, the internet’s largest torrent portal, is back at running a cryptocurrency miner after it previously ran a short test in mid-September.”
Estimates indicate that the scheme has earned the pirates a total of $43,000 over a three-week period.
Users had no way to opt their computers out of being test-driven by the torrent network. Back in September, The Pirate Bay got away by telling people it was just a test. The site’s owners cannot use the same excuse this time around.
CoinHive advises websites to let their visitors know their browser is being used to mine cryptocurrency.
“We’re a bit saddened to see that some of our customers integrate CoinHive into their pages without disclosing to their users what’s going on, let alone asking for their permission,” the company said.
The good news is most ad-blockers and antivirus programs will block CoinHive, given its recent abuses. That means not all visitors of The Pirate Pay were being used as a conduit for mining Monero.
Monero Joins Global Crypto Rally
The value of Monero (XMR) shot up nearly 8% on Friday, and was last seen trading at $94.17. With more than 15.2 million XMR tokens in circulation, the total market cap for Monero is $1.4 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. That’s enough for ninth on the global cryptocurrency list.
Twelve cryptos have now crossed the $1 billion valuation mark. A handful of others have made their way north of $500 million.
Ethereum Notches Two-Month High as Bitcoin Offspring Triggers Volatility
Digital currency Ethereum climbed to a two-month high on Monday, taking some of the heat off Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, which have slumped since the weekend.
Ethereum Forges Higher Path
Concerns over Bitcoin created a favourable tailwind for Ethereum (ETH/USD), which is the world’s No. 2 digital currency by total assets. Ether’s price topped $340.00 on Monday and later settled at $323.54. That was the highest since June 20.
At its peak, ether was up 10% on the day and 70% for the month of August.
The ETH/USD was last down 2.2% at $315.02, according to Bitfinex. Prices are due for a brisk recovery, based on the daily momentum indicators.
Fractured Bitcoin Community
Bitcoin and its offshoot, Bitcoin Cash, retreated on Monday following a volatile weekend. The BTC/USD slumped at the start of the week and was down more than 3% on Tuesday, with prices falling below $3,900.00. Just last week, Bitcoin was trading at new records near $4,500.00.
Bitcoin Cash, which emerged after the Aug. 1 hard fork, climbed to new records on Saturday, but has been in free-fall ever since. The BTH was down another 20% on Tuesday to $594.49, according to CoinMarketCap. Its total market value has dropped by several billion over the past two days.
Analysts say that a “fractured” Bitcoin community has made Ethereum a more attractive bet this week. The ether token has shown remarkable poise over the past seven days, despite trading well shy of a new record.
Other drivers behind Ethereum’s advance are steady demand from South Korean investors and growing confidence in a smooth upgrade for the the ETH network. The upgrade, which has been dubbed “Metropolis,” is expected in the next several weeks. Its key benefits include tighter transaction privacy and greater efficiency.
Ethereum Prices Unaffected by ICO Heist
Fin-tech developer Enigma was on the receiving end of a cyber-heist on Monday after hackers took over the company’s website, mailing list and instant messaging platforms. The hack occurred three weeks before Enigma’s planned Initial Coin Offering (ICO) for September 11.
In addition to defacing the company’s website, the hackers pushed a special “pre-sale” ahead of the ICO. While many users realized it was a scam, 1,492 ether tokens – valued at $495,000 – were directed into the hackers’ cryptocurrency wallet by unsuspecting backers.
The irony in all this is that Engima is a cryptography company that prides itself on top-notch security protocols. The company issued a statement that its servers had not been compromised.
Spotting a Well-Made Investment Scam
For every reasonably safe investment, there are 1000 scams and 10,000 reasonably toxic investments. Self-served advertising via social media and search engines exacerbates the problem – people sometimes click ads they think were search results, or, as humans are intended to, simply consumes the content on the screen instead of paying attention to where they’re being redirected to.
In this article we will review a recent example of a well-executed investment scam.
The intended victim, who did not actually get scammed but alerted this author to the hustle, was led to believe that the above image was redirecting to a CNN news article. This is the actual URL the link went to:
Now if you visit com-cat.press, all you see is a directory listing. This site’s entire purpose is to make people believe they are visiting legitimate .com websites, when in fact they are visiting others. It doesn’t always have to be a scam, sometimes it is simple an advertisement, but often enough it is a definite funnel to a scam. In this case, here’s where you wind up, at a place that looks an awful lot like CNN Money:
Again, this is not a real article on CNN. This is promotion for 10Markets.eu.
10Markets.eu is extremely professional looking. The platform looks to capture your details even just for demo trading. Most traders expect hurdles, so one can imagine tons of phone numbers and e-mail addresses entered:
The demo trading screen never loaded for this analyst, but the phone number is fake anyway. Took it from a coffee shop in Germany. Funnily, it appears the German exchange code is 030 in the first place, but you can’t edit that part. They also don’t allow you to visit the site at all if you’re in North America.
The tipster was clever enough to find out if 10Markets.eu was a registered broker or not. They’re not. According to ForexBrokerz.com:
10Markets is a forex and CFD broker that is headquartered in Scotland [sic] and supports the popular MetaTrader 4 platform. It is not licensed by any authority and there is not much information about the trading conditions on its website. What is worse, this broker is present in the warning lists of UK’s FCA, Australia’s ASIC and Cyprus’ CySEC, so we don’t recommend doing business with 10Markets.
There are review websites which help. Regarding 10Markets, we came up with this one.
The tipster happens to have been our own Jonas Borchgrevink. He is equipped with years of experience in website publishing, and this is why he quickly noticed that he was not reading a CNN article. The sad fact is that a high percentage of people who read that article believe it to be real, and a percentage of those people end up getting scammed. As such, here is a checklist for new trading outfits that you haven’t used or heard about before:
- Always try to get phone support right away. Before creating an account. If no one answers or there is anything suspicious, this is a scam.
- Always search for “[EXCHANGE NAME]” + “scam,” and read carefully any results that come up. Most scams could stop at one person if others listened to that one.
- In the US, you can use FINRA to check the legitimacy of an exchange or broker. In the UK, you have FCA. Many countries have sites like these, and it’s important to check the one from the country where the broker does business.
- Use ad blockers at least when legitimately searching for financial solutions.
- Check the URL! For every legitimate exchange website, there are a few fake ones designed to steal your account information.
In The Event That You Spot A Scam
Tattle! Spread the word far and wide, not just so others don’t get scammed, but also to give authorities the jump on the thieves. Otherwise, they may exit and get away with all the money before anyone stops them.
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