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Lizard Squad Fails Hard

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Lizard Squad (currently: @LizardMafia), the bane of Sony Playstation and Microsoft XBOX online gaming communities, was the DDoS Grinch that stole Christmas gaming this year. Neither platform was usable for more than thirty minutes, and those brief respites were tied to Twitter account pumping.

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@LizardMafia would pick a smaller account from their group to promote, promising the attacks would stop if the account met some goal, such as reaching 5,000 followers. They also ran repeated tweet polls, asking followers to RT the tweet if they wanted Play Station Network attacked, or favorite the tweet to direct their attention to XBOX.

Also read: Lizard Squad Stops PSN and Xbox Live Takedown Possibly Thanks to Mega and Kim Dotcom

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Their most recent act has been promoting lizardstresser.su, which offers ‘shell booters’, and in doing so they made a string of mistakes. Security researcher Brian Krebs has had direct, personal conflict with them in the past, and their errors permitted him to characterize them accurately.

Smoke, Mirrors & Lizards

Lizard MafiaThe holiday attacks have been maddening for the members of the predominantly male fifteen to twenty five year old demographic that received either type of game console for Christmas. The practice of promoting multiple Twitter accounts meant any attempt to banhammer them had to hit half a dozen targets in very quick succession. The frontal assault tactics favored by young men were at best of limited use, and more often backfired on innocent bystanders, precisely as the Lizards intended.

@LizardMafia itself had a few particular personas they chose to single out for direct attention. The aush0k mentioned here is Matthew Flannery, an Australian hacker who belatedly and quite incorrectly declared himself the supreme leader of LulzSec last year, during his arrest for vandalizing a tiny Australian village government site.

@LizardMafia Taunts aush0k

@LizardMafia Taunts aush0k

@MeanTXLawyer is Texas attorney Jason Lee Van Dyke, whose twin claims to fame are being dumb enough to try to drag Tor Project into court over the content on the PinkMeth hidden service revenge porn site, and for offering a bounty on doxbin operators nachash (@loldoxbin) and Intangir, then publicly threatening to kill both of them.

@LizardMafia Taunts @MeanTXLawyer

@LizardMafia Taunts @MeanTXLawyer

Seeking Media Attention

Emboldened by their successes and in a manner eerily similar to what happened during the FBI orchestrated fifty day LulzSec rampage of 2011, some of the ringleaders took to the airwaves, and the group’s downfall began.

First was the young man seen below, Julius Kivimaki, a Finnish teen who has been at the center of much mayhem for over two years. Brit Vinnie Omari appeared as well, only to be arrested a few days later on some Paypal fraud charges.

Promoting LizardStresser, Doxing Subscribers

Internet celebrity KimDotCom ransomed both PSN and XBOX for $300,000 worth of his company’s cloud storage product, and the Lizards moved on to a new strategy – offering DDOS as a service via lizardstresser.su. Brian Krebs was quickly on the scene with Lizard Kids: A Long Trail Of Fail.

Krebs’ post and Ode To LizardSquad on Malware Tech are the sort of thing one reads with a copy of Maltego running to collect all of the details for further inspection but the executive summary is found in this pastebin: LizardStresser User Dump. Some details of their 1,700 subscribers are now public, and it is unclear what else their sloppy OPSEC has exposed.

Best of all, Malware Tech performed a simple test, proving that LizardPatrol and Darkode share the same system. Read those detailed studies and you’ll be able to trace the Lizards back to their point of origin.

LizardPatrol & Darkode Hosted Together

LizardPatrol & Darkode Hosted Together

Another FBI Sponsored Hacker Rampage?

If what Lizard Squad is doing were organic, it would follow the same power law distribution seen in insurgencies. A few months ago they hit hard and managed to divert an American Airlines flight in order to inconvenience a Sony exec on his way to a conference, then they slipped away quietly. The Christmas holiday attack doesn’t look odd; it’s the right time in terms of maximum audience, and it doesn’t seem particularly closely correlated with the Sony intrusion. If the next few months bring smaller actions with different methods, or nothing at all, that would be a statistical fit.

But two of the members have been arrested. If there is immediately another big hit involving LizardStresser, or some other very noteworthy move, and then another … and another? A steady or escalating stream of events would be clear signs that the next Sabu is moving among the next herd of victims, setting up the young and unwary.

Images from Lizard Mafia, Malware Tech and Shutterstock.

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Uber Is Paying Hackers to Keep Quiet

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Uber Technologies Inc. has reportedly paid hackers to delete scores of private data stolen from the company in a security breach that was concealed for over a year. The revelation provides further confirmation that, when it comes to cyber security, crime does pay.

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Massive Data Breach

According to Bloomberg Technology, hackers retrieved the personal data of 57 million Uber customers and drivers at some point last year. Nobody heard about it because the rideshare company paid the hackers $100,000 to keep quiet. A purge at the front office of Uber also ensured that the massive cyber breach was kept under wraps.

The compromised data was from October 2016 and included the names, phone numbers and addressed of 50 million Uber riders globally. About seven million drivers had their personal information accessed as well.

At the time of the cyber attack, Uber was inundated with a slew of legal issues stemming from alleged privacy violations. Rather than shine even more negative spotlight on the company, Uber executives decided to pay hackers to stay quiet.

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“None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it,” Dara Khosrowshahi, who took over as CEO in September, said in a statement that was published by Bloomberg. “We are changing the way we do business.”

Hackers have done a masterful job infiltrating companies and governments in recent years. As a reminder, recent cyber attacks levied against Yahoo!, Target Corp and Equifax Inc. dwarf Uber’s 57 million compromised accounts.

Various reports indicate that cyber attacks are bleeding the global economy dry. One report, issued by the World Economic Forum, suggests that cyber crime cost the world economy $445 billion in 2016. If cyber crime were its own market cap, it would exceed Microsoft Inc., Facebook Inc. and ExxonMobil Corp

The Fall of Uber?

Uber revolutionized the ride-hailing business over the span of seven years by giving more power to the consumer. Several missteps later, the company finds itself in legal hot water, with its future appearing less certain than it did just one year ago.

The rideshare company faces at least five U.S. probes ranging from bribes to illicit software and right up to unethical pricing schemes. According to another Bloomberg report, Uber is under investigation for violating price transparency regulations, not to mention the alleged theft of documents for Google’s autonomous cars.

Some governments are sensing weakness in the ride-hailing service, and are moving toward banning the Uber app entirely. London is the most prominent example of a city that has taken definitive steps to outlaw the service over a “lack of corporate responsibility.”

Even with its legal troubles, Uber is a revolutionary technology that has influenced a bevy of other innovations aimed at improving the human experience.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

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Ethereum Notches Two-Month High as Bitcoin Offspring Triggers Volatility

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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.

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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.

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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.

ETH/USD (Bitfinex)

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Ethereum Prices on Track for 35% Monthly Drop

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It has been a difficult month for ethereum. The world’s No. 2 digital currency has lost a third of its value over the past 30 days following a series of cyber breaches targeting vulnerable wallets and ICOs.

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Ethereum Struggles to Regain Momentum

Ethereum (ETH/USD) was trading near $197.00 Sunday at 6:30 BST, according to Bitfinex. That represents a decline of around 5%. At current values, ethereum’s market cap was $18.4 billion.

The ETH/USD exchange rate has struggled throughout July, with prices briefly falling below $160.00. The decline, which amounted to a 60-day low, lured bargain-hunters back into the market. After surging back toward $250.00, the ETH/USD has consolidated below the $220-mark, which continues to offer strong resistance. On the opposite side of the spectrum, major support is located at $180.00.

A price recovery may prove elusive in the short-term, with the Relative Strength Index (RSI) and Stochastic indicator signalling weak underlying momentum.

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Despite its recent decline, ethereum’s value has surged more than 2,200% this year.

Cyber Attacks, SEC Weigh on Market

The ethereum network suffered a large-scale cyber breach earlier this month resulting in the loss of tens of millions of dollars. A community of ethical hackers quickly banded together to “rescue” hundreds of millions of dollars worth of tokens.

Blockchain-based trading platform Coindash was also hijacked during an initial coin offering (ICO). The breach exposed Coindash’s ether wallet address, resulting in the loss of $7 million worth of ether.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has also taken an interest in the ethereum-based ICO market. Last week, the regulator concluded that a certain multi-million dollar token sale last year violated securities law. Although ICOs have been compared to crowd-sourcing, the SEC maintained that some tokens were in fact securities.

Analysts say the SEC ruling could impact the future of ICOs, although it remains unclear how the regulator is pursuing this market. The SEC’s July 25 press release cautions investors about ICOs in general.

ETH/USD (Bitfinex)


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