Tag Archive | Federal Bureau of Investigation

Your Webcam: a Big Security Risk?

From spyware to hackers, even sextortionists. What is this? Webcam exploitation. It’s becoming a major security risk. Some of the latest details in different news stories show that people are taking advantage of webcams, just as many had feared in the past.

Cyber extortion

Recent reports show that male computer users in are being extorted by women through the use of webcam shows. Women are coaxed in to stripping for a specific male, and then the female ask men to strip for them back. However, the females are recording the male strip show and then using it to threaten and extort the male. The threats include sharing it on YouTube, Facebook, and other related social media. In order for the female not to post it, the male must pay her.

This has been on the reversal as well, where men do the same to women when it comes to selling the taping of a live strip.

The rules with this type of situation include that you should always be wary of strangers whom befriend you on a social network, especially if showing a sudden romantic interest in you. Usually, after the sudden onset of romantic interest, the women invite the men (or the other way around) to a webcam show. Then, the extortion takes place.

Never put yourself in a compromising position when it comes to a webcam. Keep the clothes on, as much as it is an idea to take them off…don’t do it.

If the extortionist threatens and tries to get money from you, contact the police immediately to help remediate the situation. It may be a bit embarrassing for what the person may post on a social network, however, it’ll be better if the police handle it.

Don’t click on any links to payment systems, in case any extortion occurs, or in any case of any chat system. Untrusted links could lead to malicious software and/or scam.

Is someone spying on me?

Webcams are standard equipment now, and video chat is getting to become very popular. Whether it’s the photo-megacity online, or the video-sharing extravaganza, webcams are pretty popular. Have you ever stopped to think if anyone was watching you?

Many times there are indicator lights that supplement a webcam. These tell you if any current activity is detected within the webcam. However, there are techniques that hackers can use to disable the indicator light.

What do we do? Cover up the camera with some tape, put something in front of it, etc. Hackers can’t reach in through your computer and move it, can they? No way! Therefore, grab some electrical tape or some other very dark, opaque tape to cover up the camera.

If you have a USB webcam, that gets attached to the monitor or put onto the desk, it can simply be unplugged when not in use.

If it is a built-in webcam, then the tape above will do well, or if it’s a notebook computer – close the lid when not using.

Paranoia has existed for a long time, and it is no surprise issues happen with webcams.

DNSChanger Suspect Pleads Guilty; 25 Year Prison Outlook Among Other Issues

One hacker/malware writer of the DNSChanger malware has pleaded guilty. Only two out of the six have been extradited to the US, so far, to be charged. Valeri Aleksejev, one suspect, has now pleaded guilty and is looking at 25 years in prison, with the possibility of having to pay back up to $7M to victims. Deportation is probable as well.

When hackers change DNS settings, they have the ability to lead the victim(s) to other sites through redirects. Redirects can be used for fraudulent purposes, such as boosting affiliate sales, getting search traffic, etc.

The six suspects in this case effectively manipulated this method and other methods, and “were able to manipulate Internet advertising to generate at least $14 million in illicit fees.”

$200M Major Credit Card Fraud, 18 People Charged

Eighteen people have been charged in a major credit card fraud scheme. New Jersey federal prosecutors called the fraud one of the largest credit card fraud schemes ever uncovered by the US Department of Justice. This fraudulent act spanned eight countries, as well as 28 US States.

“The defendants are part of a massive international fraud enterprise involving thousands of false identities, fraudulent identification documents, doctored credit reports and more than $200 million in confirmed losses. Due to the massive scope of the fraud, which involved over 25,000 fraudulent credit cards, loss calculations are ongoing and final confirmed losses may grow substantially,” FBI Special Agent James Simpson said in court records.

The criminals charged used greedy means for the stolen money, buying high-end clothing, automobiles, electronics, etc. As well, they stockpiled some in odd places, like an oven in one case.

More information is still up for grabs in this case, once everyone has made their court appearances. It is unknown what the aim was for the criminals, however, it is no surprise the schemes used were for means to make the criminals more wealthy.

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FBI Report: Hacker Blackmailed over 350 Women to Strip on Webcam

The FBI has taken into custody a 27-year-old man, claiming that he hacked the accounts of Facebook users coaxing hundreds of women to strip on their webcams, while watching on Skype.

The man identified by the FBI as Karen (“Gary”) Kazaryan of Glendale, CA, was arrested yesterday on federal computer hacking charges.

According to a US Department of Justice press release, Kazaryan is claimed to have broken into victims’ Facebook and email accounts, changing their passwords, and searching for naked and half-naked photographs. He also gathered personally-identifiable information from the users, including passwords, personal details, names of friends, etc.

The report details also that Karen threatened the users who did not comply to his demands of stripping, that he would post nude photos of them on their own Facebook pages. It is also reported that approximately 3,000 photos were seized from the man’s computer. The FBI believes 350 women were lead in to “sextortion”.

The FBI is urging all women who believe they might be a victim to contact the Los Angeles Field Office at +1-(310) 477-6565.

Tech support and fake antivirus scams crackdown by FTC

Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a crackdown on tech support and fake antivirus scams that have been problematic for years. The scams such as bogus computer cleanup programs, phone-based tech support scares, etc. is subject to freezing of assets, as well as lawsuits for the six companies involved in the crackdown. Some of these Technogennie, Virtual PC Solutions, and Connexions InfoTech Services, among others.

Scareware scams have gone on for years, whether the classic ones such as SpySheriff (2005) to Personal Antivirus (2009). Many bouts of scareware have been apparent over the years, and they have really fell off the planet more and more the last couple of years. Why is this? Scareware crackdown from the FBI, FTC, etc. Many scams are being sought out a lot faster so the damage to the user communities is very limited.

These companies caught in the current wrap-up/crackdown from the FTC were boiler-room based, making cold calls to people in English speaking communities. Their attempts were to subject the potential customers to fear that their computer is infected, and telling them to purchase solutions to their problems by paying right away with credit card. However, when the users realized their computer was either not infected at all, or that it was a scam, it was too late and the customer was ripped off. Many banks have given the opportunity for chargeback, but that’s only if the person can truly identify that it was a scam. If no evidence can be drawn up, then it’s hard to get the chargeback.

After getting over 2,000 complaints (estimated 2,400), the FTC immediately froze assets of those companies, shut down their phone numbers used for the cold calling, and began a rapid investigation. Victims were usually charged between $49 to $450 to have a “techie” clean their system. Many of the cold callers posed as Dell, Symantec, or even McAfee.

More news about this freezing on the FTC website.

Now, earlier this week, the FTC won a $163 million settlement in a three year-old case against Innovative Marketing Inc. (IMI) and Kristy Ross, former officer of the company. More on that at the FTC website as well.

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AntiSec theft of FBI data a lie

The Anonymous group AntiSec has claimed to have mined around 12 million Unique Device Identifiers (UDIDs) from a FBI laptop, after the hack was claimed to have been part of a Java vulnerability. News has been booming with Java vulnerabilities lately, so this is a very believable story. AntiSec published their list to prove the group had the data. The data is used as identifiers for iPhone and iPad devices.

AntiSec’s reason stated includes that it wanted to expose the FBI’s tracking of Apple device users.

However, the FBI has came back with a press release statement:

The FBI is aware of published reports alleging that an FBI laptop was compromised and private data regarding Apple UDIDs was exposed. At this time, there is no evidence indicating that an FBI laptop was compromised or that the FBI either sought or obtained this data.

That was published on the FBI site.

Therefore, all this was just a tactic to draw attention to themselves.

 

Alleged LulzSec Member Arrested by FBI for Sony Hack

LulzSec

A man alleged to hacking in to Sony Pictures Entertainment computer systems has been arrested. A man named Raynaldo Rivera has been arrested, not only for hacking, but also for stealing personal information, passwords, and other personal data from thousands of users. Most of the information leaked was about innocent users whom entered contests held by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Because of this “simple SQL injection“, it costed Sony over $600,000 apparently, which is not cheap change by any means.

Rivera used the HideMyAss proxy service, illegally according to their Terms, to investigate potential vulnerabilities on Sony servers. The alleged hacker is known by the online handles, “neuron”, “wildicv”, or “royal”. He could face up to 15 years in prison, if convicted.

 

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