Aug 092018

SAN JOSE – A federal grand jury in San Jose indicted Travis Cole Malone, Jr., on July 12, 2018, for conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse and for causing the transmission of code to damage protected computers, announced United States Attorney Alex G. Tse and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett.

According to the indictment unsealed today, Malone, 20, of McAlester, Okla., is alleged to have coded and developed the “Medusa IRC Botnet DDoS” malicious software (“malware”).  When installed on a victim computer, the malware joined the victim computer to a “botnet” that could be used to conduct distributed denial of service (“DDoS”) attacks against websites.  Malone, using the moniker “stevenkings,” advertised the malware on various internet forums.  He then leased access to the botnet to co-conspirators for the purpose of executing DDoS attacks.  The indictment alleges that the malware was used in a January 2016 DDoS attack on the webservers for a San Francisco digital currency company.

Malone was arrested on August 7, 2018, and made his initial appearance in federal court in Muskogee, Oklahoma, yesterday.  Malone was released on bond and his next scheduled appearance is at 1:30 p.m. on September 12, 2018, for an initial appearance in the Northern District of California before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment, and a fine of $250,000, restitution, and forfeiture, for each violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030.  However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

This case is being prosecuted by the Northern District of California’s Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Section with the assistance of Elise Etter and Vanessa Quant.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI in San Francisco and Muskogee. The FBI received assistance during the investigation from security researchers at Arbor Networks.

Further Information:

Case #: CR 18-0311 BLF

Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of California

Aug 092018

David Bisson reports:

Digital attackers targeted the computer servers of a golfers’ association with ransomware and encrypted files stored on those assets.

Staff at the Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA) discovered the attack on 7 August. When they attempted to access certain work files that morning, those documents generated a ransom note informing them that their employer’s “network has been penetrated” and that “[a]ll files on each host in the network have been encrypted with a strong algorythm [sic].” The warning message also made clear that those responsible for the attacks possessed “decryption software for [PGA’s] situation.”

Read more on Tripwire.

Aug 022018

Clifford Lo  reports that the HK Department of Health might have caught a break on a recent ransomware attack:

Hong Kong’s Department of Health has become the latest victim of a cyberattack after three of its computers were hit by ransomware which left data inaccessible, prompting police to open a criminal investigation.

The targeted computers belonged to the department’s Infection Control Branch, Clinical Genetic Service and Drug Office and were infiltrated in the two weeks since July 15.

“Files stored on the computers were encrypted by ransomware, and an email address to contact for a decryption key was left behind, but no ransom was demanded,” a department spokeswoman said.

The computers did not contain any confidential personal information, and no data had been leaked, she said.

Read more on SCMP.


Aug 012018

The Department of Justice announced a stunning arrest today of key players in one of the most damaging threat actors in the last decade.  Kudos to all involved in their arrests. You can read the DOJ’s full press release below, but let’s start with a quote from a FIN7 hunter:

“FIN7 is the most prolific and advanced financially motivated threat actor of the decade.” — Charles Carmarkal, Vice-President and CTO of  Mandiant, who has been tracking FIN7 since 2015. 

For more details on FIN7, read today’s report from FireEye:

On the Hunt for FIN7: Pursuing an Enigmatic and Evasive Global Criminal Operation

The following is DOJ’s press release, followed by links to some of the indictments:

Victim Companies in 47 U.S. States; Used Front Company ‘Combi Security’ to Recruit Hackers to Criminal Enterprise

Three high-ranking members of a sophisticated international cybercrime group operating out of Eastern Europe have been arrested and are currently in custody facing charges filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, announced Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes for the Western District of Washington and Special Agent in Charge Jay S. Tabb Jr. of the FBI Seattle Field Office.

According to three federal indictments unsealed today, Ukrainian nationals Dmytro Fedorov, 44, Fedir Hladyr, 33, and Andrii Kolpakov, 30, are members of a prolific hacking group widely known as FIN7 (also referred to as the Carbanak Group and the Navigator Group, among other names).  Since at least 2015, FIN7 members engaged in a highly sophisticated malware campaign targeting more than 100 U.S. companies, predominantly in the restaurant, gaming, and hospitality industries.  As set forth in indictments, FIN7 hacked into thousands of computer systems and stole millions of customer credit and debit card numbers, which the group used or sold for profit.

In the United States alone, FIN7 successfully breached the computer networks of companies in 47 states and the District of Columbia, stealing more than 15 million customer card records from over 6,500 individual point-of-sale terminals at more than 3,600 separate business locations.  Additional intrusions occurred abroad, including in the United Kingdom, Australia, and France.  Companies that have publicly disclosed hacks attributable to FIN7 include such familiar chains as Chipotle Mexican Grill, Chili’s, Arby’s, Red Robin and Jason’s Deli.  Additionally in Western Washington, FIN7 targeted other local businesses.

“The three Ukrainian nationals indicted today allegedly were part of a prolific hacking group that targeted American companies and citizens by stealing valuable consumer data, including personal credit card information, that they then sold on the Darknet,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski.  “Because hackers are committed to finding new ways to harm the American public and our economy, the Department of Justice remains steadfast in its commitment to working with our law enforcement partners to identify, interdict, and prosecute those responsible for these threats.”

“Protecting consumers and companies who use the internet to conduct business – both large chains and small ‘mom and pop’ stores — is a top priority for all of us in the Department of Justice,” said U.S. Attorney Hayes.  “Cyber criminals who believe that they can hide in faraway countries and operate from behind keyboards without getting caught are just plain wrong.  We will continue our longstanding work with partners around the world to ensure cyber criminals are identified and held to account for the harm that they do – both to our pocketbooks and our ability to rely on the cyber networks we use.”

“The naming of these FIN7 leaders marks a major step towards dismantling this sophisticated criminal enterprise,” said Special Agent in Charge Tabb.  “As the lead federal agency for cyber-attack investigations, the FBI will continue to work with its law enforcement partners worldwide to pursue the members of this devious group, and hold them accountable for stealing from American businesses and individuals.”

Each of the three FIN7 conspirators is charged with 26 felony counts alleging conspiracy, wire fraud, computer hacking, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

In January 2018, at the request of U.S. officials, foreign authorities separately arrested Ukrainian Fedir Hladyr and a second FIN7 member, Dmytro Fedorov.  Hladyr was arrested in Dresden, Germany, and is currently detained in Seattle pending trial.  Hladyr allegedly served as FIN7’s systems administrator who, among other things, maintained servers and communication channels used by the organization and held a managerial role by delegating tasks and by providing instruction to other members of the scheme.  Hladyr’s trial is currently scheduled for Oct. 22.

Fedorov, a high-level hacker and manager who allegedly supervised other hackers tasked with breaching the security of victims’ computer systems, was arrested in Bielsko-Biala, Poland.  Fedorov remains detained in Poland pending his extradition to the United States.

In late June 2018, foreign authorities arrested a third FIN7 member, Ukrainian Andrii Kolpakov in Lepe, Spain.  Kolpakov, also alleged to be a supervisor of a group of hackers, remains detained in Spain pending the United States’ request for extradition.

According to the indictments, FIN7, through its dozens of members, launched numerous waves of malicious cyberattacks on numerous businesses operating in the United States and abroad.  FIN7 carefully crafted email messages that would appear legitimate to a business’ employee, and accompanied emails with telephone calls intended to further legitimize the email. Once an attached file was opened and activated, FIN7 would use an adapted version of the notorious Carbanak malware in addition to an arsenal of other tools to ultimately access and steal payment card data for the business’ customers. Since 2015, FIN7 sold the data in online underground marketplaces. (Supplemental document “How FIN7 Attacked and Stole Data” explains the scheme in greater detail.)

FIN7 used a front company, Combi Security, purportedly headquartered in Russia and Israel, to provide a guise of legitimacy and to recruit hackers to join the criminal enterprise.  Combi Security’s website indicated that it provided a number of security services such as penetration testing.  Ironically, the sham company’s website listed multiple U.S. victims among its purported clients.

The charges in the indictments are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The indictments are the result of an investigation conducted by the Seattle Cyber Task Force of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, with the assistance of the Justice Department’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Office of International Affairs, the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance, numerous computer security firms and financial institutions, FBI offices across the nation and globe, as well as numerous international agencies. Arrests overseas were executed in Poland by the “Shadow Hunters” from CBŚP (Polish Central Bureau of Investigation); in Germany by the LKA Sachsen – Dezernat 33, (German State Criminal Police Office) and the Polizeidirektion Dresden (Dresden Police); and in Spain the Grupo de Seguridad Logica within the Unidad de Investigación Technologica of the Cuerpo Nacional de Policía (Spanish National Police)..

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Francis Franze-Nakamura and Steven Masada of the Western District of Washington with assistance from Trial Attorney Anthony Teelucksingh of the Justice Department’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.

Related Files from DOJ:

Jul 312018

Catalin Cimpanu reports:

On Monday, officials from Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su), a borough part of the Anchorage Metropolitan Statistical Area, said they are still recovering from a ransomware infection that took place last week, on July 24.

The ransomware infection crippled the Borough’s government networks and has led to the IT staff shutting down a large swath of affected IT systems.

“Last Tues., July 24, the Borough first disconnected servers from each other, then disconnected the Borough itself from the Internet, phones, and email, as it recognized it was under cyber attack,” said Mat-Su Public Affairs Director Patty Sullivan.

Read more on BleepingComputer.