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Russian Citizen Sentenced for Involvement in Global Botnet Conspiracy


A Russian citizen was sentenced Aug. 3 for his participation in a criminal enterprise that installed and exploited malicious computer software (“malware”) on tens of thousands of computer servers throughout the world to generate millions of dollars in fraudulent payments. Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Gregory G. Brooker of the District of Minnesota and Special Agent in Charge Richard T. Thornton of the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office made the announcement. Continue reading

Secret Service Discovers $28 Million in Credit Card Theft


A U.S. Secret Service investigation resulted in the arrest of five men for their involvement in a sophisticated credit card and identity theft scheme.

A nationwide operation that involved the Secret Service New York Field Office, Miami Field Office, Orlando Field Office and Atlantic City Resident Office led to the arrests of James Beckish, Richard Witcher, James Toner, Peter O’Brien and Joseph Anthony Demaria. Each were arrested for their role in operating a series of companies used as cover to place approximately $28 million of unauthorized charges on thousands of consumers’ credit cards. Continue reading

Beware at the Pump: Black Market Fuel Making Millions

By Brendan Farrington

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A black market for diesel and gasoline has rapidly spread around the nation, with organized crime gangs using fraudulent credit cards to syphon millions of dollars in fuel from gas stations into large tanks hidden inside pickup trucks and vans.

Stealing fuel can be less risky than selling drugs or other illegal endeavors, and criminals can make $1,000 or more a day re-selling the stolen fuel at construction sites and unscrupulous gas stations, or to truckers looking to cut costs, investigators and industry experts say. Continue reading

Russian Wanted by US Alleged to Be Prolific Spam Master

By Raphael Satter and Howard Amos

MOSCOW (AP) — From the early days of online stock scams to the increasingly sophisticated world of botnets, pseudonymous hacker Peter Severa spent nearly two decades at the forefront of Russian cybercrime.

Now that a man alleged to be the pioneering spam lord, Pytor Levashov, is in Spanish custody awaiting extradition to the U.S., friends and foes alike are describing the 36-year-old as an ambitious operator who helped make the Internet underground what it is today. Continue reading

Insider Threat Special Interest Group

The mission of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) is to disseminate and exchange information relevant to the protection of a specific critical infrastructure sector — or across several sectors — and through vigilant preparedness, to ensure their continued resilience. The newest of these InfraGard SIGs is the Insider Threat SIG, chaired by Stuart Mallory, who serves as Director of Security for APTIM Federal Services. The Insider Threat SIG aims to share information and best practices that can help to prevent small- or large-scale incidents of industrial or corporate espionage. Continue reading

How Artificial Intelligence Is Taking on Ransomware

By Anick Jesdanun

NEW YORK (AP) — Twice in the space of six weeks last quarter, the world suffered major attacks of ransomware — malicious software that locks up photos and other files stored on your computer, then demands money to release them.

It’s clear that the world needs better defenses, and fortunately those are starting to emerge, if slowly and in patchwork fashion. When they arrive, we may have artificial intelligence to thank. Continue reading

Time to Take Back Control of Your Cybersecurity Now

By Paul A. Ferrillo & Dr. Christophe Veltsos

Hi. We are back. We had hoped to delay this update at least one more year, but that turned out not to be possible as, early on in 2016, the ransomware plague affected large swaths of corporate America and the healthcare system. And things have gotten uglier over the past few months.

Companies and organizations of great notoriety suffered cyber attacks, like the recent hacks of the Democratic National Committee (DNC),(1) the alleged hack on The New York Times by unknown sources, and very powerful distributed denial of service attacks against the website of famed blogger, Brian Krebs; a French media company called OVH; and a top-level domain name server company called Dyn.(2) Continue reading

Cyber Health Working Group Exemplifies Importance of Collaboration

By Susan Kahn and Kari Thompson

Around the globe, key players from the public sector, private industry and nonprofit sector are coming together as partners to find long-term solutions to the complex challenges of our rapidly changing world. These partnerships are addressing everything from U.S. infrastructure development to safe drinking water in developing countries. Gilbert Probst of the World Economic Forum has called collaboration “the paradigm of the 21st century.” Continue reading

Q&A: Aviation Security Enhancements for Selected Last Point of Departure Airports

Why is the U.S. Government taking these steps now? Are these new policies in response to a specific terrorist threat or plot?

The U.S. Government is concerned about terrorists’ ongoing interest in targeting commercial aviation, including transportation hubs over the past two years, as evidenced by the 2015 airliner downing in Egypt, the 2016 attempted airliner downing in Somalia, and the 2016 armed attacks against airports in Brussels and Istanbul. Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items. Continue reading