Malware service operators arrested; offered antivirus bypassing tools

By Deeba Ahmed
The malware encryption service run by a Romanian duo helped hackers embed malicious code in legit software to bypass antivirus tools.
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Police arrest 2 in connection with CyberSeal, Dataprotector crime services

Romanian police have arrested two people for allegedly distributing malicious software designed to evade anti-virus protections to more than 1,560 accused cybercriminals, Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said Friday. The international crackdown, which Europol and the FBI supported, targeted a decade-long scheme that provided crooks with relatively cheap access to victim computers, which they used to carry out information-stealing and ransomware attacks. The two Romanian suspects, whom authorities did not identify, allegedly ran “crypting” services designed to sneak malicious code past anti-virus software. The services, dubbed CyberSeal and Dataprotector, sold for between $40 to $300, according to Europol. The two suspects also allegedly offered cybercriminals access to a platform to test their malware against anti-virus software for as little as $7. It’s the latest effort by global law enforcement agencies to strike at the heart of infrastructure used by people accused of facilitating costly hacking schemes. Europol and Australian police […]

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As COVID-19 travel restrictions eased, scammers pounced

You can add travel-booking scams to the ways that cybercriminals have adapted to the pandemic-era economy. After slashing prices on the hacking tools sold on underground forums and targeting software used for remote work, crooks have been monitoring the fluctuations in travel restrictions around the world for an opportunity to hawk illicit travel schemes, according to research published Tuesday by the threat intelligence firm Gemini Advisory. The analysts found an uptick in travel-related chatter on over a dozen cybercriminal forums since July, not long after countries in Europe began loosening travel controls. Mentions of travel-related issues on the forums went from roughly 100 per day in early June to more than 600 per day in early September, Gemini Advisory analysts said. “Numerous dark web forum members and Telegram channels have resumed advertising travel services after being dormant during the peak of COVID-19 pandemic,” Gemini Advisory said in a blog post. “One prominent […]

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Trickbot on the Ropes Part 2: The QQAAZZ Money Laundering Ring

While shutting down the technical aspects of malware is critical (see Trickbot on the Ropes Part 1), the real disincentive to the criminals is when you hit them hard in the money.  That was the objective of Europol’s Operation 2BaGoldMule case against … Continue reading Trickbot on the Ropes Part 2: The QQAAZZ Money Laundering Ring

US, European authorities carry out sweeping crackdown on prolific QQAAZZ cybercriminal group

U.S. and European law enforcement have embarked on a coordinated crackdown on an Eastern European cybercriminal group accused of trying to launder tens of millions of dollars stolen from victims. Fourteen people have been charged for allegedly laundering money for QQAAZZ, as the group is known, the U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday. Meanwhile, houses were raided across Europe, a number of arrests were made in Latvia and a cryptocurrency mining operation was seized in Bulgaria. It’s the most significant law enforcement offensive to date against QQAAZZ, whose members are allegedly from Bulgaria, Latvia, Georgia, Romania and elsewhere. The network has allegedly operated hundreds of bank accounts throughout the world to launder money stolen by criminal hackers, sometimes converting it to cryptocurrency. They stand accused of hawking their “bank drops service” on Russia-speaking cybercriminals forums. “The criminal gangs behind some of the world’s most harmful malware families are among those cybercriminal groups […]

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COVID-19 Exacerbated Existing Cybercrime Patterns, Europol Says

Europol has published its seventh Internet Organized Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA), the agency’s annual cybercrime report containing updates on the latest trends and effects of cybercrime in the European Union and beyond. Much has changed since last … Continue reading COVID-19 Exacerbated Existing Cybercrime Patterns, Europol Says

Europol analyzes latest trends, cybercrime impact within the EU and beyond

The global COVID-19 pandemic that hit every corner of the world forced us to reimagine our societies and reinvent the way we work and live. The Europol IOCTA 2020 cybercrime report takes a look at this evolving threat landscape. Although this crisis sh… Continue reading Europol analyzes latest trends, cybercrime impact within the EU and beyond

Dark web markets continue to evolve after big takedowns, Europol says

The past year has been a transition period for dark web markets, as the illicit e-commerce hubs have been forced to adapt after big takedowns in 2019, according to a new report by Europol. The lifecycles of individual marketplaces have shortened, and “no clear dominant market has risen over the past year,” according to European police agency’s annual Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment for 2020. The marketplaces still represent a “growing threat,” though, as a source for crime-oriented malicious software, drugs and other goods, the report says. After the 2019 takedown of Deep Dot Web — a site that helped users navigate online markets for illegal drugs — dark web users began setting up other information hubs, including dark.fail and darknetlive.com, Europol says. Dread, a forum that has been around for about three years, also continues to operate. While criminals try to keep dark web markets as user-friendly as possible, they also […]

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Arrested: 4 most active hackers involved in SIM Swap, malware attacks

By Deeba Ahmed
These hackers were involved in malware attacks, sim swapping scams, and e-commerce fraud.
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Europol: “The Hidden Internet Is No Longer Hidden, and Your Anonymous Activity is Not Anonymous”

Europol this week has announced the arrest of 179 vendors of illicit goods on the dark web, in a coordinated operation known as DisrupTor. According to the press release, operation DisrupTor follows the takedown of Wall Street Market, the world’s then … Continue reading Europol: “The Hidden Internet Is No Longer Hidden, and Your Anonymous Activity is Not Anonymous”