Entries in Hackers (6)


Russian Cyber Criminals Rake in Billions

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- They say crime doesn’t pay, but for Russian-speaking cyber criminals it has paid very, very well.

According to a new report, they raked in over $4 billion in 2011 -- nearly a third of the $12.5 billion global cyber crime market.  About half of that took place in Russia itself, nearly double the previous year’s total.

The report, released Tuesday by the Russian cybercrime investigation company Group-IB, found that cybercrime in Russia and in neighboring countries is also getting more sophisticated as traditional mafia rings have begun operating in the digital world.

Previously, the company noted, the market was comprised of individual hackers, but they have now consolidated their efforts and traditional organized crime groups are clamoring for a piece of the action.

The most lucrative form of Russian cyber crime last year was online fraud, which brought in nearly a billion dollars, followed by spam, which topped $830 million.

The Group-IB report blamed lax Russian laws for the expansion of cyber crime.  While the Russian government has tried to tighten legislation aimed at preventing and punishing such activity, the company said more was needed.

“The cyber crime market originating from Russia costs the global economy billions of dollars every year,” Ilya Sachkov, Group-IB’s CEO, said in a statement on the company’s website.  “Although the Russian government has taken some very positive steps, we think it needs to go further by changing existing law enforcement practices, establishing proper international cooperation and ultimately improving the number of solved computer crimes.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


FBI Investigating US-China Commission Data Breach

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The FBI is investigating claims made by an Indian computer-hacking group that India’s intelligence services intercepted the communications of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

The documents, posted on the Internet about a month ago and alleged to be from the Indian government’s Directorate General of Military Intelligence, include about 10 emails from the congressionally mandated commission from September and October 2011. The commission reports to Congress annually on national security, trade and economic issue with China.

The commission released their annual report to Congress in November 2011 this year. One federal law enforcement official indicated that the Indian government may have been snooping for early details on the assessments of the commission if the documents are genuine.

While the emails do appear to be genuine, the document has not been authenticated. Emails and phone calls made to the Indian embassy in Washington were not returned on Wednesday.

An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment on the investigation.

The documents include an email received by Michael Danis, the commission’s executive director, concerning General Electric’s business and joint ventures in China.

“As discussed yesterday, defense and aviation officials have identified that China’s two critical technology gaps in the aerospace industry are avionics and engine technology. This would appear to indicate that GE is helping them on both counts,” the email reads.

“Look at the Taiwan hearing, yesterday both the Chair and Ranking were adamant about the F-16c/d sale. I think we finally need/should support the sale,” an Oct. 4, 2011 email allegedly sent from commission member Daniel Blumenthal to Denis notes about the possible sale of F-16 jet fighters to Taiwan.

“We are aware of these reports and have contacted the relevant authorities. We are unable to make further comments at this time,” Jonathan Weston, a spokesman for the commission, wrote in an email.

The documents posted on the Internet were allegedly obtained by a group called the Lords of Dharamraja, which has also made claims that they compromised the source code on Symantec’s popular Norton antivirus software.

The document that is allegedly from the Indian intelligence service claims that the emails were obtained by using backdoors from mobile device manufacturers Apple, Research in Motion and Nokia. In the United States the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act mandates that the FBI and police must have “backdoor” access to phone and internet communications with a lawful court order. The Bureau has been pushing for expanded surveillance powers with new technology such as Skype and Twitter in what they have termed their “Going Dark” program.

The inquiry into the data breach at the commission follows the disclosure last month that China had infiltrated the U.S. Chamber of Commerce computer system targeting the work by the Chamber’s Asia policy analysts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sony PlayStation Network Hacked Again, Closes 93,000 Accounts

AFP/AFP/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Sony Corp. says its PlayStation online gaming network has been hit by hackers again, and it’s suspended about 93,000 users’ accounts while it figures out how to protect itself.

In a statement from its Tokyo headquarters, the company said it had “detected a large amount of unauthorized sign-in attempts” between Oct. 7 and Oct. 10, and had temporarily locked 93,000 accounts whose sign-on IDs and passwords had been copied by whoever made the attacks.

“Credit card numbers associated with these accounts are not at risk as a result of these unauthorized attempts,” the company said, adding that there had been little activity on most of them between the attack and Sony’s decision to lock the accounts.

The company said it would email account holders with instructions so they can reset their passwords.

After an attack in April the PlayStation network was offline for 44 days, and spent about $170 million to restart, and try to restore its relationship with its customers.

Customers are probably not at risk from an attack like this one, the security firm Sophos says, but it’s a reminder to do the basic things necessary to protect yourself. If you’re one of those 93,000 Sony customers, someone has now downloaded your password, which might become a problem if it is the same password you use, say, for your bank account.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Anonymous Hacks Syria's Ministry of Defense Website

George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Syrian protesters got an unexpected show of support on Monday from a group of activist hackers who have cracked some very high-profile computer systems in the past, including those belonging to Visa, MasterCard, the CIA, and PayPal.

The group Anonymous took over Syria's official Ministry of Defense website for a few hours early Monday morning, redesigning the homepage and posting videos of Syrian military brutality against civilians.  The hackers also left a message in both Arabic and English.

Addressing the Syrian people, the group wrote: "The world stands with you against the brutal regime of Bashar Al-Assad. Know that time and history are on your side -- tyrants use violence because they have nothing else, and the more violent they are, the more fragile they become."

The message came a day after nearly 60 Syrian pro-democracy protesters were reportedly gunned down, marking one of the worst days of violence since President Bashar Al-Assad launched his military crackdown.

Anonymous went on to tell the Syrian people: "All tyrants will fall, and thanks to your bravery Bashar Al-Assad is next."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Police Nab Teen in England Believed to Be Behind LulzSec

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- A teenager believed to be a main player behind the hacking group LulzSec has been arrested in England, according to Scotland Yard.

The 19-year-old, who has not been identified, was detained in Wickford, Essex after a joint operation by the FBI and Scotland Yard.  He is being held at a police station in London where he is being questioned.  No charges have yet been filed.

LulzSec has taken credit for cyber attacks on various websites, including ones belonging to Sony and the U.S. Senate.  Just last week, the group claimed responsibility for an electronic attack on the CIA's public website.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Police Arrest Five in Connection to 'Anonymous' Web Attacks

Photo Courtesy - Joe Raedle/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Police in England made five arrests Thursday morning in connection to web attacks carried out last month supporting the leak of top secret documents by WikiLeaks.

According to police, three males, ages 15, 16 and 19, and two men, ages 20 and 26, were arrested around 7 a.m. local time.  Metropolitan police, in conjunction with European and international law enforcement agencies, made the arrests in London, Surrey, West Midlands, Northamptonshire and Hertfordshire.

The five males are believed to be part of the online group called Anonymous that hacked into and crippled the websites of Mastercard, PayPal and other companies that pulled their financial support of WikiLeaks.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio