Cyber Extortionist Pretends To Be From US Police; Demands $2000 in Bitcoin To Delete Evidence!







A cyber extortionist acts to be a US State Police detective and promises to delete child porn evidence for $2,000 in Bitcoins including a phone number which could be used to contact the scammer.

“Sextortion” emails have become quite common where the sender cites that the recipient’s computer has been hacked with the recording of them while on the adult sites.

On the other hand extortionists pretend to be hitmen and asking for money to call off the hit, bomb threats and tarnishing website’s reputation.


The aforementioned extortionist accuses the victim of child pornography and that the evidence could be deleted if they pay the sender $2,000 in Bitcoins.

Florida, Minnesota, Georgia, Tennessee, California and New York are a few of the states where the victims mentioned that the mails they got were from.

Per sources, the email sent by the extortionists pretending to be from the Tennessee State Police included the following phrases:
·       “Do not ignore the important warning”
·       “I work in the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, detective branch Crime Prevention with child abuse.”
·       “You uploaded video child-porno to websites”
·       “not possible to prove you didnt this”
·       “I retire in next month and want to earns some money for self”
·       “Pay me to Bitcoin wallet”
·       “This is anonymous money I want 2000$”
·       “Send transfer to my wallet”
·       “My temporary phone to contact”
·       “After receiving payments, I delete All materials”
·       “If you don’t pay me, I sending materials to The Tennessee Crime Laboratory.”

All the emails happen to be the same, the same Bitcoin address 17isAHrP2cZSY8vpJrTs8g4MHc1FDXvAMu


 but just the state’s name different.

The attacker(s) is/are using a data breach dump which contains both email and home address so that the state in the email could be matched up with the target’s state of residence.

Extortion scams don’t usually contain the scammers contact number and matching the state of residence with that in the email is surely a nice touch there.

But whenever an email turns up where the sender asks for money it’s obviously to be aborted.


Ransomware and their Proliferation; Major Cyber-Crime Hazards In View





Per latest reports, all around the globe, only last year we faced a hike in losses that occur due to malicious activities or cyber-crime.

Only earlier this year, cities Baltimore and Maryland of U.S. were attacked by a ransomware where computer networks got locked up and made making transactions impossible.

The administrators denied the demands for a ransom of $76,000 in exchange for unlocking systems but now have been encumbered with an estimate of $18 million to rebuild and/or restore the city’s’ computer networks.

Usually when hit by ransomware or any other malicious agent there are some pretty hard-hitting choices that the victim organizations have to face.

Two Florida cities had to pay a sum total of $1 million as ransom this year after which the same malicious group attacked the state court of Georgia.

The above data of losses generating from ransomware attacks rising by 60% was cited by the Internet Society’s Online Trust Alliance.

Since 2013, around 170 county, city and state government networks have been victims with 22 incidents being only this year.

The cities are not prepared against cyber-crime and hence are being repeatedly attacked as mentioned by a researcher at Stanford.

To pay or not to pay? This is a raging question when it comes to ransoms. FBI warns against it but researchers say that there is no clear side that could be chosen by victims who have their important data locked.

It hence becomes obvious that what needs to be done is what happens to be the best for the organization which means considering paying ransom in some cases.

To or not to pay is secondary where primary issue still happens to be with the software updates and lack of backups and security measures the users take.



Russian cyber security specialists massively quit from Russian banks



The Central Bank’s requirements for information security, which have dramatically increased over the past year, led to the departure of specialists in this field from banks to other industries. This situation has risks for banks and their customers. Experts noted that hackers who in 2019 refocused the attack from banks to government offices and industrial companies, can come back.

The banking market is in a dangerous situation, because the leading information security experts leave banks, finding application in other industries.

According to Alexander Vinogradov, the former head of the information security service at Zlatkombank, only among his acquaintances, 11 important Bank security officers who held senior positions resigned from credit institutions and found work in other areas — Telecom, retail, etc.

"The guys are just tired: the load on information security specialists has increased many times over the past year, the requirements have increased many times, many do not stand the load,” he said.

"The maximum responsibility and requirements with a very dubious return," — said Denis Malygia, the former head of the service of the Bank "Garant-invest", commenting on his decision to leave the post.

According to the information security experts, there is another problem, it is the unwillingness of banks to allocate budgets, which is why the risks of successful hacker attacks increase. Specialists of Group-IB said that 74% of the banks are not ready for hacker attacks.

Experts believe that the departure of information security specialists from banks is a dangerous trend. Maria Voronova, the Director of Consulting at InfoWatch Group of Companies, said that personnel risks, in particular, shortage of personnel, are one of the main operational risks in the field of information security.

According to experts, it is rather difficult to find a replacement for those who quit the bank. It may take about six months to find a new head of information security service.

It is interesting to note that in the first quarter of 2019, cyber attacks on the financial sector amounted to 6% of the total number of attacks on legal entities. State institutions (16%), medical (10%) and industrial companies (10%) became the most popular among hackers. If the bank security system will be more vulnerable, hackers can switch to this area.

CDSCO Warns Users and Providers against Potentially Hack-able Insulin Pumps!





The wireless communication between Medtronic’s Minimed insulin pumps and other remote controlled related devices like blood glucose meters. These have a high risk of being hacked.

Central Drug Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), the apex drug regulator issued an alert about a few of Medtronic PLC’s insulin pumps being hack-able in response to US FDA flagging the theme.

No complaints of the sort have been received so far from the market, but nonetheless it happens to be an essential issue that needs looking into and hence CDSCO alerted the medical professionals.

Due to the aforementioned alleged cyber-security issues, (nevertheless potential in nature) few of the insulin pumps from the Medtronic Minimed have been recalled.

The US drug regulator recommends people to swap their insulin pumps for different models due to the potential risks related with the communication between these pumps and other devices like glucose meters and CareLink USB device used with them.





An insulin pump is a medical device specifically designed to help  diabetics control their glucose levels. The device pumps insulin in the user’s body in continuous doses.

Every insulin pump from Medtronic’s Minimed has a serial number which according to CDSCO should never be shared.

Per the CDSCO’s alert, the insulin pumps which are susceptible to potential hacking, namely are, MiniMed Paradigm 715, 712, 722 and 754 with software versions 2.6A or lower.

According to sources, Medtronic is pre-emptive about informing the users, regulators and medical professionals about the potential cyber-hazards of the insulin pumps.

They are also readily working with researchers to aid the patients, users, doctors and stakeholders, find answers to any questions they may have.

Medtronic alluded to it that with the evolution of technology will “continue to collaborate with industry researchers and regulators and develop high quality therapies that will positively impact lives”.

The company also remarked that over the years many models of these insulin pumps have been launched where their quality has been focused upon with utmost seriousness and concern.


Indian Govt. Takes Steps For Preventing Incidents of Cyber Crimes; Improving Cyber Safety in the Country



With the ascent of phishing attacks being at its prime, Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad stresses at the government's contribution in finding a way to avoid more and more episodes of cyber security and improving the cyber safety in the nation.

The current Union Minister holding the Law and Justice and Electronics and Information Technology portfolios in the Govt. of India took to the Lok Sabha this issue and tended to it with most extreme consideration.

He wrote, “With the innovation of technology and rise in usage of cyber space, cyber-attacks such as phishing and identity theft are observed. Such phishing attacks are global phenomena which target users to trick them to divulge information such as online credentials."


According to the data accessible with Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), more than 260 phishing incidents were seen in the initial five months of 2019.

With the parliament informed on Wednesday , 26th June , the report was reviewed and it was observed that around 552 phishing incidents were observed during the year 2017, while in 2018, the number stood at 454, and in 2019 (till May) it was 268.

"CERT-In is working in coordination with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and banks to track and disable phishing websites,” Prasad said including that CERT-In issues cautions and warnings in regards to most recent cyber threats and counter-measures on a regular basis to guarantee the safe utilization of digital technologies.


The cyber security week began in Moscow


For the first time, Sberbank holds Global Cyber Week, an international cybersecurity week, in Moscow; it will be held from 17 to 21 June. The first day of Global Cyber Week began on Monday.

The II International Cybersecurity Congress (ICC) is a key event of Global Cyber Week, which is attended by leading experts from around the world. The event has no analogs in the world.

The II ICC will be held at the World Trade Center in Moscow. Sberbank is organizing a similar congress in Moscow for the second time. The first Congress was held on July 5-6, 2018 and gathered more than 2.2 thousand participants representing about 700 organizations from more than 50 countries. Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in the Congress.

Several important events will open Global Cyber Week. This is an International Cybersecurity Practical Conference OFFZONE, designed primarily for young people, and Cyber Polygon, the world's first online cybersecurity training for major international companies.

The press service said, "The participants of the Conference will learn about the most popular research and modern tools of protection firsthand, as well as take part in various competitions in ethical hacking."

More than one and a half thousand participants came to Global Cyber Week on the first day, whose age does not exceed 25 years. Everything can be hacked at the event, even the badges (a name card of each participant).

President of Sberbank German Gref said that Sberbank has created a platform to unite the world community against cyber threats. He believes that the work on creating a secure global cyberspace is at an early stage, and it is necessary to develop the effective international cooperation at the corporate level to successfully combat cybercrime.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said, "We are well aware that it is possible to neutralize cyber threats only together, combining the efforts of the entire international community."

Stanislav Kuznetsov, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Sberbank, is confident that International Cybersecurity Congress will provide an opportunity to exchange views and tested technologies, and to provide for risks in the future.

Massive HIV Data Leak; No Closure Yet!






Singapore: Finally the authorities have come up with some background details as to the circumstances that led to 14,200 people’s personal details along with their HIV status leakage.

The lingering questions, ever since the data was compromised have been intriguing. Such as, the reason behind not making it public in May 2016 when it was known that the information was in wrong hands?

According to a recent media briefing the Permanent Secretary of Health, cited that the ministry of health did wasn’t sure as to the whether the news’ being public was in the interest of the citizens.

They did mention though that they will take conservative measures and better approaches now that they know the persons in registry have concerns regarding a public announcement.


It’s disturbing that years after the incident took place no one knows why the data still remained with the unauthorized people.



According to sources, the Ministry of Health had lodged a police report in May 2016 after finding out that Mikhy Farrerra Brochez was in custody of the leaked information from the HIV registry.

After, the properties owned by Brochez and his partner Ler Teck Siang were searched by the police officials and all pertinent material found was seized.

Even after that Brochez managed to keep some information back and in turn leaked it later on. The Permanent Secretary of Health voiced that the police should have had a better search.

It was later in May 2018 when the people whose information as in the “unauthorized” hands were informed a\bout the entire leakage scenario.

In May 2018 the police found out that Brochez had managed to hold some records back which was a month after Brochez completed serving his jail sentence for other offenses and was deported from Singapore.

There is no way of knowing though, that how many people were informed that their persona details were in wrong hands.

MOH lodged a police report and had contacted the concerned individuals. The number of people was very small according to PSH Mr. Chan.


Where Brochez was deported to is still under wraps and the immigration department couldn’t share the details due to confidentiality concerns.

He is known to have arrived in the Kentucky state of the US. There’s no knowing if he’s being monitored, the sources said.

He had called at his mother’s house despite being warned to stay away and that’s when she informed the police about it.

After he refused to leave he was taken into custody and was charged. He has been asked to return to the district to face criminal trespass.

The Singapore police force is reportedly taking help of their foreign counterpart but didn’t mention which organizations or countries.

Brochez’s partner was charged with the Official Secrets Act for “failing to retain the possession of a thumb drive” containing data from the leak but was stood down and there is no answer as to why that happened.



According to Article 35(8) the AG gets a wide discretion as public prosecutor in the conduct of criminal proceedings. The prosecution “is not required to give reasons for why they decide to proceed with certain charges and not others”.

Another question that has yet to be addressed is how was the access to the confidential information disabled? We do know that the MOH had worked with “relevant parties” to disable the access.


Stolen information of such sorts is uploaded on various hack forums and file sharing sites such as “Pastebin” and “Mega” and is commonly hosted on web servers overseas.

If taking down a web domain. It could be done on a registrar level. Domain registrars are company people who create websites. But taking down a website can’t totally solve the problem.


Because once, data is on the dark web it’s almost irretrievable. As it could be copied or distributed across quite easily.


Absolutely different from the internet the commoners use, the Dark Web is “unregulated and decentralized and has no point of authority or disabling access to anything.


Congested Google Servers Render Snapchat and YouTube Inaccessible!



The eastern parts of the USA were hit by a sudden congestion of the Google servers which triggered famous apps like YouTube and Snapchat to be inaccessible.


Quite immediately, Google addressed the matter citing that it was dealing with the “high levels of network congestion”.

This was highlighted to be the reason for the inoperative applications. It also affected many other services in the Google Cloud, YouTube and G Suite.

Slow performance or/and sporadic errors are other repercussions of the network congestion. Google engineers are halfway through the restoration process.


Twitter blew up with the questions and worries of the social media users as the applications ceased to work as smoothly as they do.

On the other hand, YouTube and Snapchat also took to their Twitter handles to concede the alarming issue at hand.

Computing happens to be one of the most profitable services Google has to provide but it faces serious rivalry at the hands of other technology organizations like Microsoft and Amazon.



Big Bug Bounty Hunts by Cyber Giants Fetch Ethical Hackers Millions!





As a part of being more aware and secure in terms of cyber-crime and to stay clear off any possible hazards that may or may not come their way, organizations have started paying up millions to those people who find bugs in their systems.


Recently, a concerned cyber-space user received a message that allegedly said, “Hey, we’ve got some money for you. Do you want it?”

This message had come from Yahoo in response to a bug that the person had sent to the organization. As of now this bug-sending business has paid up a profit of $1.5m.

Yahoo like many companies pays up to people who find bugs and loopholes for them that could be potentially exploited by hackers or cyber-cons.

These ethical hackers sign-up with organizations like Bug Crowd, Synack, Hacker One etc. who conduct bug bounty programs on behalf of other organizations.

 To participate in this, a person need not even have a profound knowledge of coding and other technical skills cited the aforementioned user.

However, he had always been a part of the security industry where he learned deeply about the protocols regarding the swapping of data.

Nevertheless, there is a substantially enormous difference between the way professionals work on cyber issues and the way beginners do.




It’s been long since people actually felt inclined towards working in the cyber security industry even if they weren’t getting paid much.

Earlier and even now to some remote extent there exists an underlying need for more professionally oriented skillful hands in the cyber-security industry.

Many countries have government funded educational schemes for school kids to help them have a sense of the cyber-security.

With 25,000 school children as their intake UK’s scheme, Cyber Discovery had a fabulous first year. It’s an initiative to let kids know that the daily work of pros is fun.

Participants get points when they complete each section and the top performers get to attend residential courses that help them get better.

The big bug bounty hunts could be a great way to attract the attention of young minds and help them get a taste of what defeating bad guys feels like.

Anyone who wished to enter in the big bug bounties should contemplate the fact that it requires a lot more than sheer luck to work as an actual cyber-security guy.

“Also, companies should have their own set of defenses set against the cyber cons rather than letting the bounty hunters know what the inner situation is.”, said a source.

Nonetheless, it should always be more about being a concerned citizen, trying to solve problems, and make a better and safe cyber-world.


Dharma: A Malicious Ransomware In The Skin of an Anti-Virus Software








A family of ransomware has been infecting organizations around the globe and now has a new trick up its sleeve. A file-locking malware is being distributed disguised as anti-virus software.

“Dharma” happens to be the name of the infamous ransomware which has been linked to tens of cyber-crime episodes.

Dharma’s "executive working team" is all about creating and fabricating state-of –the-art attacks that are lucrative to the highest extent.

And by way of the recent stunt they’ve pulled they stand a handsome chance of extorting ransom payments in exchange for decrypting files and locked networks on the Windows system.

Actually, the ransomware poses to be an anti-virus software and hence the users are tricked into downloading and installing it.

The attacks like many others begin with “phishing emails” that claim to be from Microsoft and stating that the victim’s PC is under some risk, threat or is corrupted.

Luring the user into downloading the anti-virus by assessing a download link, if the user goes through with it, two downloads are retrieved.

According to sources, they are Dharma ransomware payload and an old version of anti-virus software from cyber security company ESET.

After the self-extracting archive runs, Dharma starts the file encrypting process. The user is guided to follow the installation instructions for ESET AV remover.

The interface gets displayed on their desktop but still requires user interaction during the installation process all the while distracting the user from the actual con.

The victim would immediately be confronted with a ransom note, once the installation gets done with, demanding crypto-currency in exchange for unlocking the file.

Malware have usually been hidden under skins of actually legitimate applications and software, in the above scenario an official unmodified ESET AV Remover was made use of.

Any other potential application could be exploited and used in this way to fool the not so well cyber-educated and even tech savvy users.

The file-locking malware is relatively new in the market but powerful nonetheless and with the enhanced tendencies of tactic and work being done on it.

Various cyber-cons still try to upgrade old threats and make use of latest techniques to wreak as much havoc as possible.

Ransomware happens to be an especially costly and dynamic threat which could hit in more than one ways.

The only way to not fall prey to such devastating attacks is securing email gateways, embracing better cyber-security manoeuvres, backing up files and constantly patching and updating.


Anonymous Messengers now banned in Russia


On May 5, a government decree on the obligation of the owners of Messengers to identify the users of their resources by telephone number came into force in Russia. The relevant document was signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on 6 November 2018.

According to the government decree, Messengers should to check the information about the registration of the user's phone number with the mobile operator.

"In case of non-receipt of information from the operator within 20 minutes after the request or receipt of information about the absence of subscriber information in the databases, the identification is considered not completed", — stated in the document.

If the mobile operator finds the requested phone number in its database, it also undertakes to specify which messengers the subscriber uses and assign a special identification code to him. In addition, the mobile operator must notify the administration of the messenger within 24 hours upon termination of the service agreement with the subscriber.

And if the organizer of the service refuses to fulfill the new requirements, he will face a fine of up to one million, as well as blocking the Messenger on the territory of Russia.

Earlier, Maxim Akimov, the Deputy Prime Minister, expressed confidence that the new rules of user identification in Messengers will not bring problems and financial costs for the IT industry.

Alexander Zharov, the Head of Roskomnadzor recalled that earlier it was enough to simply enter the code sent in an SMS message for registration in the Messenger. However, there was a risk that the person will register on someone else's phone number.

"The possibility of anonymous communication in Messengers made it difficult for law enforcement agencies to investigate crimes," said the Head of Roskomnadzor. At the same time, Zharov emphasized that these rules do not violate the secrecy of correspondence.

Russian mobile operators said they are ready to meet the new requirements. Representatives from Facebook (including Facebook Messenger), Whats App, Instagram and Viber have not yet to respond to the request.

‘Plane hacker’ says “I got bored, so I hacked NASA”


A hacker who is notoriously believed to be involved in several plane hacking revealed that he hacked the famous U.S space agency NASA just because he was bored.

During Digital Age Summit in Istanbul, Roberts spoke to  Anadolu Agency (AA) and said he enjoyed exploiting the vulnerabilities in  cyber securities from big institutes like NASA.

He said, "We have found that the communication security between the satellite and land systems is not well encrypted. We were able to access the system by passing NASA's International Space Station access control measures," .

Roberts Stressed that there are no unbreakable systems, and the transport companies should take serious steps to protect their networks from being hacked as suggested by “Good hackers”.

There was an investigation on Roberts by  Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in 2015 for the suspected hacking of an airplane’s computer system via in-flight wireless Internet

In a search warrant provided by Federal Bureau Of Investigation(FBI) to the federal court,the FBI stated that Roberts had admitted of hacking entertainment systems on flight through in flight internet almost 15 and 20 times between the years 2011 and 2014
In an affidavit Roberts claimed that through in flight hacking he had accessed the controls of the flight and  caused planes to drift sideways.
However Roberts, who is also popularly  known as “Plane Hacker” insists that he did all the hacking just for showing the vulnerabilities in systems available in aviation industry.

Is making hacking unprofitable the key to cyber-security?

Billions are being lost to cyber-crime each year, and the problem seems to be getting worse. So could we ever create unhackable computers beyond the reach of criminals and spies? Israeli researchers are coming up with some interesting solutions.

The key to stopping the hackers, explains Neatsun Ziv, vice president of cyber-security products at Tel Aviv-based Check Point Security Technologies, is to make hacking unprofitable.

"We're currently tracking 150 hacking groups a week, and they're making $100,000 a week each," he tells the BBC.

"If we raise the bar, they lose money. They don't want to lose money."

This means making it difficult enough for hackers to break in that they choose easier targets.

And this has been the main principle governing the cyber-security industry ever since it was invented - surrounding businesses with enough armour plating to make it too time-consuming for hackers to drill through. The rhinoceros approach, you might call it.

But some think the industry needs to be less rhinoceros and more chameleon, camouflaging itself against attack.

"We need to bring prevention back into the game," says Yuval Danieli, vice president of customer services at Israeli cyber-security firm Morphisec.

"Most of the world is busy with detection and remediation - threat hunting - instead of preventing the cyber-attack before it occurs."

Morphisec - born out of research done at Ben-Gurion University - has developed what it calls "moving target security". It's a way of scrambling the names, locations and references of each file and software application in a computer's memory to make it harder for malware to get its teeth stuck in to your system.

The mutation occurs each time the computer is turned on so the system is never configured the same way twice. The firm's tech is used to protect the London Stock Exchange and Japanese industrial robotics firm Yaskawa, as well as bank and hotel chains.

USA: Leading Servers Of Greenville Were Shutdown Owing It To A Ransomware Attack!



In the state of South Carolina, a city by the name of Greenville was attacked by a ransomware which blacked-out majority its servers.


The source of the ransomware and the infection is being conjectured upon by the help of the city staff and IT professionals.

As a basic ransomware works the organizations affected were asked for money. The IT team is working on getting the operation back online

The only servers that were separate and went unaffected were of the Greenville Utilities Commission and that of the emergency for and police department.

The infection first surfaced on the server of the Greenville Police Department. The IT division was immediately contacted and as result the servers were shutdown.

The shutdown hasn’t affected many of the operations and functions, just that the way things go about needed some adjusting.

Thanks to people not being too dependent on computers not much has been affected in the city except for people willing to do payments would need to do so in cash.

After CIRA’s free parking accident and the shutdown of Norsk Hydro, it’s evident that ransomware is an emerging hazard to cyber-security.


Roskomnadzor demanded that VPN services connect to the register of prohibited sites

Roskomnadzor for the first time demanded that the owners of VPN services connect to the register of banned sites in Russia. According to the law, VPN providers and Anonymizers connected to it are obliged to filter traffic.

The requirements for connecting to the State Information System (FGIS) were sent to the operators of 10 VPN services NordVPN, Hide My Ass!, Hola VPN, OpenVPN, VyprVPN, ExpressVPN, TorGuard, IPVanish, Kaspersky Secure Connection and VPN Unlimited.

FGIS contains a single register of banned Internet resources in the Russian Federation. According to the law, VPN services and Anonymizers are obliged to restrict access to Internet resources prohibited in Russia. So, services are required to connect to this system to gain access to the registry.

According to the current legislation, VPN services are required to connect to FGIS within 30 working days from the date of sending the requirements. Otherwise, FGIS may decide to restrict access to the VPN service.

It turned out that Roskomnadzor demanded to connect to the FGIS after receiving approval from the Federal Security Service.

It's important to note that the search engines operators Yandex, Mail.ru, Sputnik, Rambler are currently connected to FGIS. At the beginning of 2019 Roskomnadzor fined the company Google for 500 thousand rubles for non-execution of requirements about connecting to FGIS.

Group-IB: Hackers hit hard SEA and Singapore in 2018




Singapore, 19.03.2019 – Group-IB, an international company that specializes in preventing cyberattacks, on Money2020 Asia presented the analysis of hi-tech crime landscape in Asia in 2018 and concluded that cybercriminals show an increased interest in Asia in general and Singapore in particular. Group-IB team discovered new tool used by the Lazarus gang and analyzed North Korean threat actor’s recent attacks in Asia. Group-IB specialists discovered 19 928 of Singaporean banks’ cards that have shown up for sale in the dark web in 2018 and found hundreds of compromised government portals’ credentials stolen by hackers throughout past 2 years. The number of leaked cards increased in 2018 by 56%. The total underground market value of Singaporean banks’ cards compromised in 2018 is estimated at nearly $640 000.

Lazarus go rogue in Asia. New malware in gang’s arsenal

According to Group-IB Hi-Tech Crime Trends 2018 report, Southeast Asia, and Singapore in particular, is one of the most actively attacked regions in the world. In just one year, 21 state-sponsored groups, which is more than in the United States and Europe combined, were detected in this area, among which Lazarus – a notorious North-Korean state-sponsored threat actor.

Group-IB established that Lazarus is responsible for a number of latest targeted attacks on financial organizations in Asia. Group-IB Threat Intelligence team detected and analyzed the gang’s most recent attack, detected by the company experts, on one of the Asian banks.

In January 2019, Group-IB specialists obtained information about previously unknown malware sample used in this attack, dubbed by Group-IB RATv3.ps (RAT - remote administration tool). The new Trojan was presumably downloaded to a victim’s computer as part of the second phase of a so-called watering hole attack, which, according to Group-IB report on Lazarus, the group has been actively using since 2016. During the first stage, cybercriminals supposedly infected a website, visited by a victim, with a Trojan Ratankba, a unique tool used by Lazarus. Group-IB specialists note that the new RATv3.ps might have been used by North Korean hackers in other recent attacks at the end of 2018. At least one of RATs was available via a legitimate Vietnamese resource, which might have been involved in other attacks.

“The newly discovered Lazarus’ malware is multifunctional: it is capable of data exfiltration from the victim’s computer, downloading and executing programs and commands via shell, acting as a keylogger to retrieve victim’s passwords, moving, creating and deleting files, injecting code into other processes and screencasting,” – comments Dmitry Volkov, Group-IB CTO and Head of Threat Intelligence. “So in case of Lazarus a stitch in time saves nine. It is very hard to contain their attacks as they happen. You have to be well prepared and know their tactics and tools. In particular, it is extremely important to have most up-to date indicators of compromise, unavailable publicly, that can only be gathered through automated machine learning-powered threat hunting solutions. Given the group’s increased activity in the region in 2018, we believe that Lazarus will continue to carry out attacks against banks, which will result in illicit SWIFT payments, and will likely experiment with attacks on card processing, primarily focusing on Asia and the Pacific.”

Several cybersecurity researchers note that also in 2018 Lazarus carried out global campaign known as “Rising sun”. The malicious campaign affected close to 100 organizations around the world, including Singapore. The gang’s new endeavor took its name from the implant downloaded to victims’ computers. It was found that Rising Sun was created on the basis of the Trojan Duuzer family, which also belongs to cybercriminals from the Lazarus group. The malware spreader as part of this campaign was primarily aimed at collecting information from the victim’s computer according to various commands

According to Group-IB Hi-Tech Crime Trends report 2018, Lazarus, unlike most of other state-sponsored threat actors, does not shy away from attacking crypto. “Singapore, being one of the most crypto-friendly countries in the world, attracts not only thousands of crypto and blockchain entrepreneurs every year, but also threat actors willing to grab a piece of the pie. We expect that that other APTs like Silence, MoneyTaker, and Cobalt will stage multiple attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges in the near future,” – says Dmitry Volkov.

Have you been pwned?

Group-IB Threat Intelligence team identified hundreds of compromised credentials from Singaporean government agencies and educational institutions over the course of 2017 and 2018. Users’ logins and passwords from the Government Technology Agency (https://www.tech[.]gov.sg/), Ministry of Education (https://www.moe[.]gov.sg/), Ministry of Health (https://www.moh[.]gov.sg/), Singapore Police Force website (https://polwel[.]org.sg/about/), National University of Singapore learning management system (ivle.nus[.]edu.sg) and many other resources were stolen by cybercriminals. CERT-GIB (Computer Emergency Response Team) reached out to Singaporean CERT upon identification of this information. “Users’ accounts from government resources are either sold on underground forums or used in targeted attacks on government agencies for the purpose of espionage or sabotage. Even one compromised account, unless detected at the right time, can lead to the disruption of internal operations or leak of government secrets,” – comments Dmitry Volkov. Cybercriminals steal user accounts’ data using special spyware aimed at obtaining users' authentication data. According to Group-IB data, PONY FORMGRABBER, QBot and AZORult became the TOP 3 most popular Trojan-stealers among cybercriminals.

Pony Formgrabber retrieves login credentials from configuration files, databases, secret storages of more than 70 programs on the victim’s computer and then sends stolen information to cyber criminals’ C&C server. Another Trojan-stealer — AZORult, aside from stealing passwords from popular browsers, is capable of stealing crypto wallets data. Qbot worm gathers login credentials through use of keylogger, steals cookie files and certificates, active internet sessions, and forwards users to fake websites. All these Trojans are capable of compromising the credentials of crypto wallets and crypto exchanges users. More information on the most actively used Trojans and their targets can be accessed through Group-IB Threat Intelligence.

Public data leaks is another huge source of compromised user credentials from government websites. Group-IB team analyzed recent massive public data breaches and discovered 3689 unique records (email & passwords) related to Singaporean government websites accounts.

Underground market economy. Number of compromised cards of Singaporean banks on sale increases

In 2018, Group-IB detected the total of 19,928 compromised payment cards related to Singaporean banks on darknet cardshops. Singapore, as one of the major financial hubs in Southeast Asia is drawing more and more attention of financially motivated hackers every year. According to Group-IB data, compared to 2017, the number of leaked cards increased in 2018 by 56%. The total underground market value of Singaporean banks’ cards compromised in 2018 is estimated at nearly $640,000.

Group-IB Threat Intelligence team observed two abnormal spikes in Singaporean banks’ dumps, unauthorized digital copies of the information contained in magnetic stripe of a payment card, offered for sale on the dark web in 2018. The first one occurred on July 20th, when almost 500 dumps related to top Singaporean banks surfaced on one of the most popular underground hubs of stole card data, Joker’s Stash. On overage, the price per dump in this leak was relatively high and kept at 45$. The high price is due to the fact that most of the cards were premiums (e.g. Platinum, Signature etc.).

Another significant breach happened on November 23rd when the details of 1147 Singaporean banks dumps were set up for sale on cardshops. The seller wanted 50$ per item– 50% of stolen cards in batch were also marked as Premium.

Group-IB Threat Intelligence continuously detects and analyses data uploaded to cardshops all over the world. According to Group-IB’s annual Hi-Tech Crime Trends 2018 report, on average, from June 2017 to August 2018, the details of 1.8 million payment cards were uploaded to card shops monthly.

QR-codes on historical buildings of Russian city Astrakhan that led to Adult sites have been removed


Hacker reportedly changed website location of the QR-codes on historical buildings of Russian city Astrakhan and replaced them with adult website link. There was no technical detail provided how hacker was able to change the location of QR code.

When residents and guests of the city scanned QR-codes, their phones opened resources for adults, instead of sites with historical references.

Galina Goteeva, the Minister of Culture and Tourism of the region, said on March 15 that the signs with QR codes on the historical buildings of Astrakhan were changed.

QR-codes on historically significant buildings of Astrakhan were placed a few years ago. It was assumed that people can get a historical reference about the building after scanning the code with a mobile phone. Already in November last year, the Media reported about QR codes leading to porn sites and dating sites for quick sex.

In fact, the Regional Ministry of Culture for a long time struggled with the elimination of porn content, the signs were removed with great difficulty. And only at the end of the year sex traffic was stopped completely.

However, it is still a mystery why the signs with QR-codes hung for so long and why they were not promptly replaced. In total, there are at least 15 signs. QR-codes stopped working more than a year ago, but officials did not pay any attention to it: first, the pages gave an error, and later they began to lead to porn sites.

Group-IB : payment data of thousands of customers of UK and US online stores could have been compromised




Moscow, 14.03.2019 – Group-IB, an international company that specializes in preventing cyberattacks, has uncovered a malicious code designed to steal customers’ payment data on seven online stores in the UK and the US. The injected code has been identified as a new JavaScript Sniffer (JS Sniffer), dubbed by Group-IB as GMO.

Group-IB Threat Intelligence team first discovered the GMO JS Sniffer on the website of the international sporting goods company FILA UK, which could have led to the theft of payment details of at least 5,600 customers for the past 4 months.

Do your payments have the sniffles?

Most recent breaches similar to this include British Airways and Ticketmaster which were first analyzed by RiskIQ research team, where cybercriminals managed to compromise personal information of thousands of travelers and concert goers with a few of lines of code. British Airways and Ticketmaster websites were infected with JS Sniffers, a type of malicious code injected into a victim’s website designed to steal a consumer’s personal data including payment card details, names, credentials etc.

FILA UK website (fila.co[.]uk) became cybercriminals’ new major target on the UK market . GMO JS Sniffer has also been discovered on 6 other websites of US-based companies. This type of attack is especially dangerous given that it can be applied to almost any e-commerce site around the world. Group-IB made multiple attempts to alert FILA, which was known to be impacted by GMO. Six other websites affected by this JS Sniffer were notified upon discovery as well. Group-IB team has also reached out to local authorities in the UK and the US to conduct outreach.

Group-IB’s Threat Intelligence team first discovered GMO on the FILA UK website. The malicious code was detected in early March 2019. In the course of further research it was revealed that GMO JS Sniffer has presumably been collecting customer payment data since November 2018. According to Alexa.com, the number of fila.co[.]uk unique monthly visitors is estimated at around 140k per month.

According to IRP, UK market research firm, a minimum conversion into purchase for fashion and clothing ecommerce is equal to 1%. Using very conservative estimates, payment and personal details of at least 5,600 customers could have been stolen by cybercriminals – everyone who has purchased items on fila.co.uk since November 2018 has potentially had their details compromised. Typically, after customer data is stolen, it is usually resold on underground cardshops. Another scheme of cashing out involves the use of compromised cards to buy valuable goods, e.g. electronics, for onward sale.


Mozilla Firefox Considers Blocking Cyber security Company Darkmatter; Reports Arise of Its Link to a Cyber Espionage Program




Firefox 'browser-maker' Mozilla is under talks about considering whether to block the cyber security organization DarkMatter from serving in as one of its internet security gatekeeper after a Reuters report connected the UAE-based firm to a cyber-espionage program.

The international news organization announced in January that the cyber-security company gave the staff the secret to a hacking operation with the codename Project Raven, on behalf of an Emirati intelligence agency. The unit there included previous U.S. intelligence officials who led hostile cyber operations for the UAE government.

The shrouded program, which operated from a converted Abu Dhabi house far from DarkMatter's headquarters, included hacking into the internet accounts of human rights activists, journalists and officials from rival governments.

Mozilla said the company is under talks to arrive at a decision on whether to deny the authority possessed by DarkMatter, however expects to decide within weeks. While two Mozilla officials said in a meeting a week ago that Reuters' report raised their worries about whether DarkMatter would abuse their position to certify sites as safe or not.

Selena Deckelmann, a senior director of engineering for Mozilla, said "We don't currently have technical evidence of misuse (by DarkMatter) but the reporting is strong evidence that misuse is likely to occur in the future if it hasn't already."

Likewise informing that Mozilla was thinking about stripping a few or the majority of the 400 certifications that DarkMatter has granted to sites under a limited authority since 2017.

In any case DarkMatter CEO Karim Sabbagh denied the Reuters report connecting his company in any way to Project Raven."We have never, nor will we ever, operate or manage non-defensive cyber activities against any nationality," he said in a letter to Mozilla on February 25th, posted online by the cyber security company.

While in the past Mozilla has depended heavily on technical issues when choosing whether to trust a company with certification authority or not, the Reuters investigation has driven it to re-evaluate its arrangement for affirming candidates.