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Massive International Hacker Sentenced to 13 Years For Identity Theft Scheme

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ngohalfpassYoung people across the world are showing themselves to be savvy and competent behind a computer screen. Many of them are facing jail time for showing the vulnerabilities in the U.S.’s computer systems. 

Hieu Minh Ngo, a Vietnamese national, has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for hacking into U.S. businesses’ computers, stealing personally identifiable information (PII), and selling the information to other cybercriminals. He is charged with illegally accessing the PII of about 200 million US citizens. He was arrested in February 2013 upon entering the U.S. when he was tricked into going to Guam under the guise of receiving more consumer data by an undercover US Secret Service agent.

Ngo faced 24 years in federal prison but his sentence was lessened thanks to his cooperation with investigators in helping to arrest at least a dozen of his U.S.-based customers, including an Ohio man who U.S. Marshals pursued through multiple states after he was convicted of filing phony tax refund requests with the IRS.

Ngo, 25, will serve 13 years in prison for hacking into U.S. business computers and stealing the information of approximately 200 million US citizens  to sell to other people as so-called ‘fullz’, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Donald Feith of the District of New Hampshire and Director Joseph P. Clancy of the U.S. Secret Service announced.

IRS

IRS Building // Mark Van Scyoc Shutterstock

U.S. District Court Judge Paul J. Barbadoro of the District of New Hampshire sentenced Ngo, who pleaded guilty to the federal charges in the District of New Hampshire and District of New Jersey court rooms. His sentence includes wire fraud, identity fraud, access device fraud and, as well, four counts of computer fraud and abuse. The IRS confirmed 13,673 U.S. citizens had their information sold on Ngo’s websites, with $65 million in fraudulent individual income tax returns filed thanks to his services.

“From his home in Vietnam, Ngo used Internet marketplaces to sell millions of stolen identities of U.S. citizens to more than a thousand cyber criminals scattered throughout the world,” according to Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “Criminals buy and sell stolen identity information because they see it as a low-risk, high-reward proposition. Identifying and prosecuting cyber-criminals like Ngo is one of the ways we’re working to change that cost-benefit analysis.”

“This case demonstrates that identity theft is a worldwide threat that has the potential to touch every one of us,” claims Acting U.S. Attorney Feith.  “I want to acknowledge the excellent work of the United States Secret Service in identifying and capturing Mr. Ngo. This case proves that the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Hampshire will work with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute identity thieves, even if they are halfway around the world.”

“The sentencing of this transnational cyber-criminal illustrates another example of Secret Service success in the disruption and dismantling of global criminal networks,” celebrates Director Clancy.

This investigation and the resulting prosecution and sentencing should serve as a warning to criminals that we will relentlessly investigate, detect, and defend the Nation’s financial infrastructure. This sentencing joins a long list of successes in combating financial crimes over our 150 year history.

Ngo is charged with operating online marketplaces from his home in Vietnam, including “superget.info” and “findget.me,” as a means of selling packages of stolen PII,  called fullz, which often encompassed a person’s name, date of birth, social security number, bank account number and bank routing number. Among Ngo’s services were stolen payment card data, all-encompassing of a victim’s payment card number, expiration date, CVV number, name, address and phone number, which, as Ngo told  prosecutors, was obtained by hacking a New Jersey-based business.

On superget.info, which began operating in 2010, users could search for individuals by name, city, and state, Ngo also allowed users to query online databases for stolen information of individuals. Ngo grossed $2 million dollars.

The arrest comes but one month after the U.S. Office of Personnel Management made public that it had been hacked and the sensitive information of 22.1 million people had been compromised, including federal employees and contractors and their families.

Experian subsidiary Court Ventures was hacked by Ngo when he posed as a private investigator in the United States and paid for customer data searches with cash wire transfers from a bank in Singapore. In December 2013, an executive from Experian said in Congress that the company was unaware of any damage done by Ngo.

Each bit of information on the websites cost approximately less than a dollar. “Our Databases are updated EVERY DAY,” Ngo once celebrated. “About 99% nearly 100% US people could be found, more than any sites on the internet now.”

Images from Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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5 stars on average, based on 1 rated postsJustin O'Connell is the founder of financial technology focused CryptographicAsset.com. Justin organized the launch of the largest Bitcoin ATM hardware and software provider in the world at the historical Hotel del Coronado in southern California. His works appear in the U.S.'s third largest weekly, the San Diego Reader, VICE and elsewhere.




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  1. kinetiktrader

    July 17, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Wealth inequality will create more and more Hieu Minh Ngo and sentencing him to 13 years plus will just create a more angry criminal

    Pain blinds progress if you haven’t noticed.

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EOS Price Forecast: EOS/USD Heading for Another 300% Move?

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  • EOS/USD price action via the 4-hour chart view has formed a bullish flag pattern.
  • The price is moving around levels seen back end of March to early April, before a bull run of over 300%.

The past six sessions for EOS/USD have been erratic to say the least. It has been subject to a high amount of volatility, swinging aggressively in both directions. There has been a lack of commitment from either the bear or bull camps of late. As the market continues to trade with such behavior, it appears to be trying to find its feet, ahead of a potential chunky firm trend.

EOS DApp Hacked Again

An EOS based gambling DApp, EOSBet has been hacked, with $338,000 being reported as stolen. This isn’t the first time; just back in September, hackers managed to get away with a reported 40,000 worth of EOS, which at the time had a value of $200,000. It has been said that they were able to exploit their smart contracts, having found security vulnerabilities.

Technical Review – 4-hour Chart View

EOS/USD 4-hour chart

EOS/USD price action has formed a bullish flag pattern, which began taking shape on 15th October, after the aggressive price behavior stabilized. The bulls at the time ran the price well up into $6 territory. Consequently, it then met the breached ascending trend line, failing to move back above this area. This followed the sharp breakthrough to the downside, which occurred on 11th October. As a result, a drop of over 15% was seen, forcing EOS/USD to retreat in a demand area, within the $5.0000 level proximity.

Looking to the upside, small near-term resistance is seen at around $5.6100, which is the upper trend line of the mentioned bull flag pattern. A breakout will likely open the doors to a retest of the broken ascending trend line, tracking around $6.1100. Support can be eyed at $5.4600, which marks the lower trend line of the flag. Furthermore, should this fail to hold, EOS/USD could likely fall back down to the serving demand area, within the lower $5.0000 territory.

April 2018 Bull Run

EOS/USD April bull run

In April of this year EOS/USD entered a chunky bull run, gaining over 300%. From the back end of March until 11th April, the price had been stuck within consolidation mode. Resulting in the price trading within a tight range, at levels of where the price is currently seen today.

Something quite astonishing started to unfold. Between the period of 11th April to the 29th April, a bull run of around 290% was seen. Over this time frame EOS/USD went from $5.9500 up to a high of around $23.0811. The price is currently demonstrating a similar behavior to that of what was seen during the mentioned period. It is interesting to note that the price did have historical levels to break through, as it had already run higher during the period of December 2017 and came back down. Finally, this is not to say EOS/USD will observe the same bull run. However, it is an interesting observation to be aware of.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 32 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Crypto Market Development: South Korea’s National Policy Committee Chair Calls For ICO Legalization

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  • A member of South Korea’s governing Democratic party and the chairman of Korea’s National Policy Committee, Min Byung-Doo, is urging to ease the current regulations on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).
  • Min Byung-Doo wants to introduce necessary regulatory framework, allowing ICOs in the country.

Allow ICOs In South Korea

The South Korean National Policy Committee Chief, Min Byung-Doo, is calling for a regulatory framework to be explored. This would be to allow for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) to take place within the country. He stated that the current prohibiting of ICOs weakens the industry’s competitiveness appeal with foreign markets. Further boldly adding, this would be preventing growth.

In his statement at to lawmakers, Byung-Doo said, “We can see that the flow of investment is clearly changing compared to ICO and angel fundraising. The ICO has raised $1.7 billion for Telegram and $4 billion for Block.One, it is getting bigger and bigger.”

Further in the statement, Min Byung-Doo said, “Let the government, the National Assembly and the blockchain association quickly create a working group to block fraud, speculation, money laundering and develop the block-chain industry,”. However, he acknowledged the government’s reluctance to create the needed framework.

In September 2017, the Financial Services Commission in South Korea announced a ban on ICOs. The law has not yet been enacted.

Crypto Market Reaction

A lack of reaction has been observed for now, despite this determination to help further legitimize the digital currency market in South Korea. Crypto market developments in the country are always watched very carefully. This is given their large crypto market participation. It was reported in December 2017 that South Korea accounted for as much as 17% of all Ethereum trades occurring in cryptocurrency markets.

Market Reactions To South Korean Related News

Ripple (XRP) crashed in January, following CoinMarketCap’s decision to remove XRP price data from Korean exchange desks. This as a result largely brought down the total average.

XRP/USD Coinmarketcap update triggered drop

On 11th January, Korean crypto exchange Coinrail was hacked, and over $40 million in tokens were stolen. Bitcoin initially dropped over 11% on this.

BTC/USD Coinrail hack triggered drop

One final example, UPbit, a South Korean exchange, was investigated by authorities for illicitly moving customer funds to the account of its executives. Bitcoin initially dropped over 7% on the news.

BTC/USD UPbit investigation triggered drop

Given the above mentioned, one should keep an eye on any developments coming out of South Korea, for the foreseeable future.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 32 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Crypto Market Update: Japan’s Self-Regulatory Group (JVCEA) Readying Tighter Rules on Digital Assets

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  • A group of cryptocurrency exchange operators in Japan is readying to tighten up measures following recent cyber breach.
  • Action follows reported hack earlier in the month; cryptocurrency exchange Zaif lost an estimated $59.67 million.

Self-Regulatory Group Set To Tighten Rules

The Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) is exploring new rules to safeguard against cyber theft, including setting a cap on the amount of digital currencies managed online. This is citing informed sources, being reported by local news outlet, the Japan Times.

Informed sources detailed that the cap will likely to be around 10 – 20% of customer deposits. The JVCEA are said to be soon revising its rules, which were originally drawn up in June following multiple cyber attacks. These will be implemented once all has been approved by the Financial Services Agency. This is as part of the payment services law process in the country.

The move likely received large motive due to the reported hack earlier in September. The Japanese start-up Tech Bureau said that its cryptocurrency exchange, known as Zaif, had been hacked. Losses were estimated around $59.67 million of Bitcoin and two other digital currencies -Bitcoin Cash and Monacoin.

Market Reaction

No initial reaction was observed across the cryptocurrency market on this latest update, coming out of Japan as of Sunday 30th September. Despite this, however, Japan and crypto sell-off are not uncommon to have been used in the same sentence over the past years and even months. This means volatility could be in store for digital assets in the short term.

Back in January of this year, the largest reported hack on a Japanese exchange took place with Coincheck losing $530 million worth of NEM in a coordinated attack. This incident massively spooked the market, and was  a heavy contributor to the large sell-off in January. As we’ve observed over the past eight months, the market has yet to reclaim January’s peak (although this can’t be solely attributed to the theft). At the time, South Korea’s Attorney General had already spooked investors with FUD related to the possible banning of digital currencies in the country.

Against this backdrop, investors are advised to pay attention to Japan-related volatility.

BTC/USD weekly chart

Most recently, looking in the month of June, another sell-off was seen. This one came after Japan’s financial regulator ordered several cryptocurrency exchanges to improve their practices against money laundering. The action led bitFlyer — the country’s largest crypto exchange — to suspend new account creation. This was initiated to improve internal processes in order to curb money laundering and terrorist financing.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 32 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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