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Want $3 Million? Catch Evgeniy Bogachev

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The FBI Office in Pittsburgh has put out the largest bounty in history – three million bucks – for information which results in the arrest or conviction of Russian hacker Evgeniy Bogachev, who is alleged to be responsible for the largest-scale financial hack ever, GameOver Zeus.

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GameOver Zeus

fbiBack in June, cyber crime units around the world co-operated in Operation Tovar to shut down the servers controlling a botnet that had, by that time, netted the cybercriminal gang Bogachev was involved with millions of dollars. GameOver Zeus worked by stealing online banking credentials and passing them to the gang. Typical of malware – in this case not just the annoying kind – the software infected Windows machines specifically. The Department of Homeland Security created a website to help people deal with the problem, which first surfaced several years ago. According to the site:

GOZ, which is often propagated through spam and phishing messages, is primarily used by cyber criminals to harvest banking information, such as login credentials, from a victim’s computer. [2] Infected systems can also be used to engage in other malicious activities, such as sending spam or participating in distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

The botnet – or network of infected computers under control of the attackers – also, in many cases, installed Cryptowall, the ransom software that would revoke a user’s access and then reinstate it for a fee paid in bitcoin. Hacked recently reported about the same “ransomware” successfully conquering several US police departments, specifically Chicago.

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GameOver Bogachev

Three million dollars is said to be the highest reward ever offered in a cybercrime case. Presumably this is because of the vast scope of infection and its success rate. Bogachev was almost certainly not the only bad actor here, and we may see other rewards pop up moving forward. In August, 2012, a Federal Grand Jury in Nebraska indicted him under two of his usernames, “lucky12345” and “slavik.” We can assume the FBI waited to issue this reward until they were sure of the man’s real identity.

By contrast, another Russian hacker, Alexsey Belan, has a price of only $100,000 on his head. The 27-year-old broke US systems directly and is accused of selling the databases.

Co-Defendants

Bogachev is not the only one the FBI wants, but presumably he’s the only one whose real-life identity has been compromised by them. The other defendants in his case are:

  • “Temp Special”
  • “DED”
  • “Chingiz 911”
  • “Mr. KYKYPYKY”

A real irony would be if one of these co-defendants managed to turn in Bogachev without compromising their identity, collected the reward, and used it in furtherance of their next scam.

Russia Not Helping Any

When law enforcement found the servers that were operating the botnet back in June, Russia was conspicuously absent from the list of countries that helped break the operation. Besides America, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Ukraine and the United Kingdom all contributed personnel and information toward ending the operation. It is common knowledge that Russian authorities only care about domestic computer crimes, so the chances of getting a co-operative extradition order on Bogachev or any other wanted Russian hacker are slim.

If you have any information and would like to make a small fortune courtesy of Uncle Sam, you can contact your local FBI office and get the ball rolling.

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 2 rated postsP. H. Madore has covered the cryptocurrency beat over the course of hundreds of articles for Hacked's sister site, CryptoCoinsNews, as well as some of her competitors. He is a major contributing developer to the Woodcoin project, and has made technical contributions on a number of other cryptocurrency projects. In spare time, he recently began a more personalized, weekly newsletter at http://ico.phm.link




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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Guest

    February 26, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Russia isn’t going to help in these cases when we’ve been doing everything in our power to cause their entire currency system to fail…

    I’d give the hackers a reward if I were Russian government.

  2. Canadian1969

    February 26, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    Russia isn’t helping A N Y O N E but themselves, its loonacy!

  3. Y QUE

    February 26, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    AMERICA is not a country..

    • P. H. Madore

      February 27, 2015 at 9:53 am

      America is commonly used shorthand for the United States of America. I suppose I should have made that clear.

      LOL.

      • Y QUE

        March 20, 2015 at 11:10 pm

        I know, but as a fellow american living in the continent, such reference is offensive. As a writer you shouldn’t use that term to refer a country.

        PD. Sorry for the late reply. 😉

  4. andrea

    February 26, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    Ha Ha ha , this is funny! , no one can catch these “people”. they are the “uncatchable’s” or as they like to call them ” the new net-preneur millionaires. LOL Just make sure you have no money in bank accounts!

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Cybersecurity

Three Hours After Re-Launch, BitGrail Shuts Down Again

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Embattled digital currency exchange BitGrail has reportedly suspended operations a mere three hours after re-launching, a move that could signal the death knell for the controversial trading platform.

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BitGrail Shuts Down After Court Order

The Italian exchange received an order from the Court of Florence on Tuesday to cease operations immediately. BitGrail was open for all of three hours before the order was handed down. All cryptocurrencies that were previously supported on the exchange were available for trade with the notable exception of Nano XRB.

On Wednesday, BitGrail issued the following statement:

“This morning, following the re-opening, we were notified of a deed by the court of Florence requesting the immediate closure of BitGrail and this situation will persist until a decision is made by the courts, about the precautionary suspension request made by the Bonelli law office on behalf of a client.”

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A final decision by the court is scheduled for May 16 2018.

Embroiled in Controversy

The Italian exchange has been mired in controversy after 17 million Nano XRB tokens went missing in February. At the time, the total value of the theft was $170 million.

At the time, BitGrail said the shortfall was caused by “unauthorized transactions,” but didn’t indicate exactly when the hack took place.

A Twitter user by the name of “Francesco the Bomber,” who apparently runs the exchange, later confirmed that the funds were stolen and that the exchange didn’t have the capital to repay its customers. However, developers who used to work with Francesco claimed that the exchange was solvent long before the attack took place. This fact was concealed by BitGrail for as long as possible.

For its part, Nano XRB managed to recovery in the wake of the attacks, with prices reaching a high near $17 in early March. The cryptocurrency has nearly doubled in value over the last three weeks as part of a broader upward correction in the market.

The Nano Foundation has established a fund to assist BitGrail users affected by the attack. The Foundation says it will match donations to the fund for up to $1 million.

BitGrail was the second largest attack of a digital currency exchange this year. In January, cyber criminals made off with around $530 million worth of NEM tokens following an attack on Coincheck, a Japanese exchange.

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 410 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Cybersecurity

Facebook Stock Has Best Day in Two Years as Zuckerberg Testifies

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Shares of Facebook Inc. (FB) gained on Tuesday, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before U.S. lawmakers over allegations of data misuse.

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Zuckerberg Gets Likes

Mark Zuckerberg apologized and defended his company on Tuesday as he appeared before a joint U.S. Senate committee hearing. “It was my mistake, and I’m sorry,” the 33-year-old CEO said when questioned about Facebook’s misuse of user data.

Lawmakers grilled Zuckerberg on issues ranging from Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal to its failure in addressing provocative messages during the most recent Myanmar crisis. He took it all in stride, appearing confident and poised throughout the question-and-answer period (at least, that’s what professional PR experts quoted by Bloomberg had to say).

Zuckerberg took full responsibility not just for Cambridge Analytica, but for Facebook’s negligence in safeguarding consumer data. That said, Republican Senator from Iowa Chick Grassley sent a strong signal that new regulations are on the way.

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“The status quo no longer works,” said Grassley, who chairs the Judiciary Committee. “Congress must determine if and how we need to strengthen privacy standards to ensure transparency and understanding for the billions of consumers who utilize these products.”

Wall Street Responds

The testimony resonated with Wall Street, as investors scooped up shares of the battered social media company. Facebook shares added 4.5%, their best in two years. By comparison, the S&P 500 Index gained 1.7% on Tuesday and the index’s technology component rose 2.5%.

The stock surge grew Zuckerberg’s personal fortune by $2.8 billion to $66 billion, according to Forbes. That makes him the world’s seventh richest person.

Despite the gain, FB is down almost 15% from its all-time high and its current price point lags behind the 50-day and 200-day moving averages. An RSI of 48 also signals weak underlying momentum for the social media stock.

Facebook’s Declining Usage

Facebook experienced a public backlash last month amid reports that a political research firm had scraped data on 87 million people. The revelation sparked a growing debate over Facebook’s privacy standards at a time when the company was battling a noticeable decline in usage.

The social media platform declined by roughly 50 million hours per day in the fourth quarter, or 5% overall. Meanwhile, independent research from a company named Edison found a steady drop in usage among Americans aged 12 and up.

While Zuckerberg has tried to spin the decline as a good thing, it’s apparent that the platform is experiencing fewer meaningful interactions, which partially explains recent efforts to transform the News Feed.

It remains to be seen how much damage the declines will do to top and bottom line results. Facebook is expected to report its quarterly earnings report Apr. 25. Analysts are expecting per-share earnings of $1.37 for the quarter, up from $1.04 the same time a year ago.

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 410 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Cybersecurity

Facebook Admits It Has Failed to Protect User Privacy

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In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has had to come clean about its privacy standards. The company recently admitted that the data on most of its 2 billion users could be compromised by malicious actors, a strong sign that the social media giant is not only misusing consumer data, but failing to protect it.

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Data on the Loose

Facebook recently announced that it has removed a feature that allows users to search for people using email addresses or phone numbers. The feature, which accounts for 7% of all searches in some regions, is being discontinued over fears that malicious users were using it to “scrape” profiles.

Mike Shcroepfer, the company’s chief technology officer, issued the following statement on Wednesday:

“Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way. So we have now disabled this feature. We’re also making changes to account recovery to reduce the risk of scraping as well.”

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CEO Mark Zuckerberg told reporters that it was “reasonable to expect” that your information may have been accessed in this way.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal, which surfaced last month, blew the lid wide open on Facebook’s privacy standards. Since 2014, Cambridge Analytica legally obtained information on as many as 87 million Facebook users for the purpose of influencing elections. In the wake of the scandal, Zuckerberg is being summoned by U.S. Congress to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, currently scheduled for Apr. 11. The CEO has acknowledged that his company made mistakes, but this has largely failed to resonate with Facebook’s growing list of critics.

Facebook Tanks

Many say that Facebook has suffered irreversible damage since the scandal was brought to light. Faced with declining usage, severed business ties and a severe backlash from the public, Facebook shares have tanked more than 16% over the last three weeks.

Prices have fallen below the 50-day and 200-day simple moving averages, with the short-term average converging on the longer one. An RSI in the low-30s makes a strong case for Facebook’s bearish downturn, although current levels indicate that an oversold bounce is likely.

FB’s share price shed another 0.7% on Wednesday even as the major indexes gained. The S&P 500’s information technology index rose 1.4%, capping off a solid recovery for the market.

Along with the other so-called FAANG stocks, Facebook has been largely responsible for the recent tech rollover and subsequent turbulence on Wall Street. Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet lost a combined $324 billion in market cap between Mar. 12 and Apr. 2.

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 410 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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