Hits and Misses
Yesterday, a rumor surfaced on deep web blog DeepDotWeb that Comcast was going to start blocking users of Tor, an anonymous web browser. Comcast Vice President Jason Livingood immediately and rightfully called bullshit, because for all of its customer service foibles, Comcast knows that preventing people from browsing the Internet anonymously would be a daring infringement on user privacy.
The confusion came to rest shortly after the posting of a Business Insider story called “Comcast Denies It Will Cut Off Customers Who Use Tor, The Web Browser For Criminals.” Besides reaffirming the simple notion that you shouldn’t just believe something you read on a subreddit, the story — which was viewed over 22,000 times — reaffirms the notion that Tor is a tool for evil.
When cybercriminals started turning up the heat on American banks, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered a full audit of New York’s banks and their cybersecurity. The Department of Financial Services (DFS) released their report yesterday, and the diagnosis is dire.
The biggest problem with financial cybersecurity, the report says, isn’t a lack Read More
Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart
An attorney’s wife from Texas was charged last year with collecting and trading child pornography online, and yesterday, she plead guilty to charges relating to the ongoing incidents.
Erika Susan Perdue, 42, received a sentence of 14 years in federal prison as part of a plea deal which has yet to be approved by a judge, according to dallasnews.com.
Politicians and scaremongers are prone to throwing around some pretty big numbers for the costs of cybercrime. But the Wall Street Journal reports that, according to a new report, the costs are something like $100 billion annually–far less than the oft-cited previous estimate of $1 trillion.
The study is the work of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and McAfee, which was also responsible for the higher number, back in 2009. This time, though, they admitted that “some of the assumptions” were wrong. No kidding.
The crooner Bing Crosby might’ve been a total dick, but it turns out he was a pretty smart angel investor. Guess the Biebs isn’t so special, after all! [New Yorker]
“They became a virtual criminal flash mob, going from machine to machine, drawing as much money as they could, before these accounts were shut down.” Don’t look now but someone lived out your wildest ATM-related dreams. [The Verge]
If you’re going to I/O, keep your eyes peeled for all the sensors tracking air quality, noise levels and lord knows what else. [TechCrunch]
Square’s TOS was recently updated to add that you can’t sell “firearms, firearm parts or hardware, and ammunition; or… weapons and other devices designed to cause physical injury” using the service. Guess you’re gonna have to start bringing duffle bags full of cash to the gun show again. [CNN Money]
Aereo launches in Atlanta June 17. [Aereo]
Keeping up with criminals is like keeping up with the Joneses. It often requires making some state-of-the-art purchases. Thus Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is planning on investing $2.4 million in City Council funding into a new High Technology Analysis Unit (HTAU) lab set to launch by the end of next year.
When Hackers Attack
Today Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced sentencing for 16 members of a cybercrime ring based in Brooklyn calling itself “S3.” Members of the group admitted to credit card forgery and identity theft that compromised hundreds of bank accounts. Using counterfeit credit cards, they fraudulently purchased Apple products around the country and resold them for profit.
In a press release announcing the sentencing, Mr. Vance called S3 “truly a family affair.”
Cybercrime! We’re basically living through the digital equivalent of Prohibition, right? Well, a couple of researchers would like to quash everyone’s mental images of Scarface but with credit-card databases instead of blow. Having run the numbers, researchers Dinei Florêncio and Cormac Herley took to the New York Times opinion page to trumpet their doubts:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation may yank several crucial domain name servers (DNS) offline on March 8, blocking millions from using the Internet. The servers in the FBI’s crosshairs were installed in 2011 to deal with a nasty worm dubbed DNSChanger Trojan. DNSChanger can get an innocent end-user in trouble; it changes an infected system’s DNS settings to shunt Web traffic to unwanted and possibly even illegal sites.
DNSChanger oozed out of Estonia and may have fouled up as many as a half-million computers in the United States. The feds’ temporary fix to keep the worm from propagating was to replace infected servers with clean surrogates.
As police commissioner Ray Kelly said after the bust of an international identity theft ring in October in which more than 100 people were suspected to be involved: “The schemes and the imagination that is developing these days are really mind-boggling.” That global scam, in which U.S.-based gangs were skimming credit cards and buying high-end computer equipment, came to light following a two year investigation—”Operation Swiper.” So we were momentarily confused when we saw an indictment for an identity fraud ring involving dozens of people. Perhaps it was the same case?
It was unclear based on the details released, so Betabeat called the Attorney’s office to ask. Were these identity theft rings the same? Nope, it turns out. New York City has just been experiencing an insane uptick in cybercrime rings, especially those involving identity theft.
The DA’s office has been slinging indictments left and right: there have been at least four indictments of criminals involved in identity theft rings in New York City in which the case involved a conspiracy of dozens of defendants since Operation Swiper came to a head just over two months ago.