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Spammers Net Over 1 Billion E-mail Addresses in Historically Massive Data Breach

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Three men have been charged in what is being called the largest data breach in history, having breached marketing companies and garnered more than 1 billion e-mail addresses in the process.

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The three men are David-Manuel Santos Da Silva, Viet Quoc Nguyen, and Giang Hoang Vu. None of the three were US citizens nor resided in the United States at the time of the incidents. Apparently Nguyen and Vu, both Vietnamese citizens, then residing in the Netherlands, were the technical side of the operation, while Canadian David-Manuel Santos Da Silva used his company 21 Celsius Inc. to launder the proceeds.

The way their operation worked was pretty simple: spam the e-mail addresses in question with a link to false Adobe Software. The addresses were garnered during at least eight penetrations between 2009 and 2012, and according to Reuters, at least one of the marketing firms that leaked was the mighty Epsilon, back in 2011.

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While Giang Hoang Vu was extradited to the United States last year to face charges, Viet Quoc Nguyen has yet to be found or hauled into court. Giang Hoang Vu pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit computer fraud, a crime that can carry between one and twenty years imprisonment. His sentence is pending.

Da Silva, who did not actively engage in the hacking which led to the procurement of the e-mail addresses used in the spam operation, faces a charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which can carry up to a ten-year prison sentence since it is over $10,000. It speaks to the evidence the prosecution has that the man is only facing one charge of money laundering since the story implies that he must have laundered the money through his business numerous times.

Also read: Want $3 Million? Catch Evgeniy Bogachev

Larger Breach Last Year

identity harvestIn August last year, security research firm Hold Security announced that the data of as many as 1.2 billion had been stolen from nearly half a million sources by a Russian cyber-criminal ring. Hold dubbed them “CyberVor,” because “Vor” is the Russian word for “thief.” This breach was more damaging than the one conducted by the two Vietnamese and one Canadian citizen because it contained countless credentials, some of which involved payment accounts and the like.

As Hold wrote on their blog at the time:

The CyberVor gang amassed over 4.5 billion records, mostly consisting of stolen credentials. 1.2 billion of these credentials appear to be unique, belonging to over half a billion e-mail addresses. To get such an impressive number of credentials, the CyberVors robbed over 420,000 web and FTP sites.

Through the underground black market, the CyberVors got access to data from botnet networks (a large group of virus-infected computers controlled by one criminal system). These botnets used victims’ systems to identify SQL vulnerabilities on the sites they visited. The botnet conducted possibly the largest security audit ever. Over 400,000 sites were identified to be potentially vulnerable to SQL injection flaws alone.

Da Silva Arrested While in Florida

Attacks like this make the work of the spam artists, who netted roughly $2 million dollars over the course of roughly three years, seem like child’s play. Most of the people they scammed and spammed believed they were getting discounted Adobe software.

This view of the severity of their breach – stealing data from those who often get it in less-than-honest ways such as false giveaways – has likely played into the logic behind the charges levied and will also likely affect the sentencing of Da Silva and Nguyen.

Da Silva was only recently arrested while on US soil last month at a Florida airport. He will be arraigned and given the opportunity to enter a guilty plea in Atlanta on Friday.

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  1. ΔИθᴎЎϻɸᵿƧ

    March 18, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    The internet itself is still less than 50 years old; the www is just over 20. At the moment, the founding generation is still alive. As the www evolves, grows, and matures, the founders will all be gone, and new generations will grow up around it, having never known anything else of the old 20th Century. Network breaches ought to become a thing of the past, and God forbid any government has anything to do with any of it.

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Breaches

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.

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Breaches

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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Breaches

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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