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Global gas station fraud stopped in Russia

8 October 2013

azsIt would sound like pure madness just a few years ago, but appears to be a reality nowadays. A group of Russian criminals successfully hacked a network of fully automated gas stations with a purpose of unlawful enrichment.

Special modules were found at dozens of gas stations owned by major oil companies that stole a few liters of gas from each client and sent them to a separate tank. This high-tech “bugs” were controlled remotely via devices disguised as regular calculators.

Gas station owners were not involved in this fraud and the police suspect former employees who had access to and knowledge of all hardware and software systems of these stations.

The revenue generated from this scheme is estimated in millions of rubles and was shared between all members of the group. The police believe that similar devices may still be installed at gas stations across the country and is currently conducting a thorough inspection with the help of security services of the oil companies.

Over a half of all children have seen porn and violence online

13 September 2013

Over a half of all children have seen porn and violence onlineAccording to the Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner, over a half of Russian Internet users under 14 have visited sites with explicit content, 40% of them featuring pornographic content, 19% containing violent scenes, 16% promoting gambling, 14% promoting drugs and 11% containing materials of a extremist nature.

Mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets, are getting increasingly popular for visiting such sites.

The “Russian Safe Internet Center” reports that over 10 million Russian children under 14 are active Internet users, which makes up 18% of all Internet users in Russia.

On November 1, 2012, RosComNadzor launched a “registry of prohibited websites” that contains sites with child pornography, suicide and drug use propaganda. When and if possible, ISP’s block access to websites from this registry, but due to a number of technical and administrative reasons, the registry itself is very inefficient and is laughed at by the entire Internet audience.

Russian intelligence agencies acquire Skype intercept

9 July 2013

After the Microsoft company acquired the Skype company in 2011, the client communication program received an interesting modification. Microsoft specialists gave themselves the ability to transfer any user to a special mode, in which the transmission data encryption keys are generated on the company server instead of on the client device.

This makes it possible for intelligence agencies to eavesdrop on users’ conversations, to read their Skype chat transcripts, and even to determine their locations.

Microsoft does not hide the fact that these capabiities are available to the world’s intelligence agencies, including Russia’s. More importantly, Russian intelligence agencies do not always obtain their access with the permission of the courts, but sometimes “by routine request”.

It recently became known that in the Chinese version of Skype there actually is a separate mechanism for tracking the activities of a subscriber. Built into their localized distribution package is a call logger that records everything entered from the keyboard. This module searches text for “objectionable” words and forwards what is detected to local intelligence agencies.

Official representatives of the MVD and FSB traditionally refrain from commenting.

Very soon, intercept of Skype communications will be accessible in a program for home use, Refog Personal Monitor. Download the fully functional trial version and try it free for three days.

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Viruses against the road police of the Moscow region

9 July 2013

Kaspersky Lab experts have discovered a virus that was intentionally planted into the Strelka-ST video surveillance systems that belong to the road police of the Moscow region. Specialists have discovered over a hundred files infected with various modifications of the virus.

The infection resulted in an almost complete shutdown of the regional video surveillance system on key highways and a financial loss estimated at 50 million rubles, since the systems remained offline for two weeks.
The analysis of the malware revealed that it was using a well-known technique – the virus periodically connected to a remote server and executed its commands.

Therefore, it is quite possible that data from these systems may have been sent over to the hackers’ server and we may be witnessing the use of the first spyware for road cameras in Russia.

In countries where digital technologies are more commonplace, many similar incidents have been recorded – from hacking digital locks in hotels to breaking into the software of coffee machines and even nuclear reactors. However, this particular case involving a virus attack on a federal video surveillance system is quite unique.

Authorities from the road police administration and the Ministry of Transportation are conducting an internal investigation and believe that the attack was the result of harsh competition between potential providers or system maintenance and support services.

Please bear in mind that spyware is not limited to viruses only. This category of software also includes legal and useful products of a similar kind.

For instance, if you want to know what your children are doing on their computers while you are away, you can use such software to collect detailed information about their activities and fend off many online threats.

All you need to do is to download Personal Monitor and install it on your computer. The program has a 3-day free unrestricted trial mode.

Free spyware: options

9 July 2013

Spyware can be used in various ways and for various purposes that are sometimes entirely opposite to each other.

For example, you can download a free trial version of the Personal Monitor, install it on your computer, and always know exactly what your kids have been doing while you were away. That way, you can ensure their safety. You can only install this software on your own computer.

However, judging by the news, spyware is often used for much more ignoble purposes.

Employees of the antivirus company Kaspersky Lab have confirmed a recent attack by the Lurk spyware on a number of popular information websites in the Russian segment of the Internet. The virus that was distributed that way, re-directed website users to a phishing site for the purpose of identity theft.

Websites of Vesti, Gazeta.ru, Vzglyad, Ura.ru and InterFax were all affected. The agencies’ employees have already cleared the websites from malicious code; however repeated infections of the resources have already been documented.

In order to cover up the presence of spyware on the websites, the intruders only added it at lunchtime (and for no longer than an hour and a half), and then deleted it. During that time the employees of the publications and antivirus companies could not detect the infection.

The Lurk virus is already known to the experts – it attacked the AdFox advertising system in March 2012 and a number of federal websites at the end of last year.

The purpose of these attacks is simple – profit. The infected computers become a part of the botnet and can be used in any way that its owner sees fit – from attacking other resources to stealing keys to client-banks and removing funds.

Russian hacker jailed in the U.S.

1 March 2013

Vladimir Zdorovenin, a Russian national, was sentenced to 2 years in prison by the New York court for a series of cybercrimes involving the theft of personal details and credit card information. The hacker committed crimes remotely from Russia, targeting American citizens.

Zdorovenin and his son used phishing and viruses since 2004 to steal the personal details of credit card holders. Apart from carding and other types of online fraud, Zdorovenin was also interested in the stock exchange market – he attempted to make money by manipulating stock prices and closing deals on behalf of people whose details he had previously stolen.

He was arrested in Zurich, Switzerland in March 2011 and extradited to the U.S. following an official order. The fraudster pleaded guilty to two charges.

20% of all Internet users are afraid that their browsing history will be made public

29 March 2011

This conclusion was made by Microsoft after an extensive international research that analyzed the behavior of users online and their perception of online security. Users from over 20 countries, including Russia, took part in the research.

According to this study, only 36% of Russian users fully recognize the importance of keeping their browsing history confidential, but over 63% are confident that the Internet must be safe.

The results are slightly different on the global scale, but the figures as still in the same brackets. Users called page loading times, user-friendliness of browsers and privacy the next most important aspects of comfortable Internet surfing after security and protection from viruses.

Around 60% of all users would not want anyone else to have access to their browsing history, and 20% are afraid of this actually taking place.

The sites that users would not want seen in their browsing history are mostly online banking sites and porn sites.

QIWI: tough target for viruses

21 March 2011

qiwiAntivirus companies have recently discovered a virus aimed at infecting QIWI payment system terminals. Analysis of the virus’s code showed that it was intended to penetrate the terminal’s operating system (Windows) and change the account number to where money is being transferred.

The virus has been given the name Trojan.PWS.OSMP.

It was not discovered in the terminals themselves but openly on the internet (only their owners have access to the terminals), so it is impossible to describe the level of danger posed. All that can be confirmed is that the virus exists and it can only infect terminals manually, through physical access to the device.

Shortly afterwards a modification to the virus was discovered, also aimed at payment terminals. However, it works differently. It tries to steal the terminal’s configuration files, which would theoretically give criminals the possibility to take money by imitating the terminal on their own computer.

The company that runs QIWI announced that this is already the 20th version of this virus and nothing particularly new. It was discovered and neutralised by the terminals internal antivirus system on 20 February and does not pose any danger at all.

Payment system representatives explained that their terminals use an effective multilevel defence system, which stops viruses from causing serious damage. Any account which receives a large number of transfers from different sources is checked by specialists and can be blocked. In addition, the terminals defence system would not allow anyone to imitate their signal, even if configuration files and encryption keys were obtained.

Russia’s largest cybercrime forums hacked

5 March 2011

Two of the largest private forums used by professional credit card fraudsters and spammers were hacked on 18 February.

Direct Connection

Forum topics, information on thousands of registered users and private correspondence were all stolen and passed on to leading companies combating online fraud (RSA, Anti Money Laundering Alliance, IISFA) and to European, Russian and American law enforcement agencies.

The first forum to be hacked was the well known cybercrime forum “MAZA.la” (also known as “MAZAFAKA”). The forum members main activities and the topics discussed can be put into the following categories:

  • document forgery,
  • sale of stolen internet service records,
  • spam,
  • virus creation,
  • laundering of illegally gained money.

It seemed to be impossible to enter this forum. It was completely private, and it was only possible to register if you had several authoritative backers who were already registered. The forum was protected by the most up to date security solutions: digital security certificates, an anti phishing filter and the server was located in Taiwan.

On 18 February the forum was attacked by hackers and the forum’s database (more than 2000 users) was stolen and handed over to law enforcement agencies.

Following this another similar forum, “Direct Connection”, was also successfully attacked.

Analysts now suggest that a struggle has begun between Russian carders and spammers for influence in the cybercrime world. However, there are no details or any evidence that this may be the case.

 

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Information security in Russian companies

16 February 2011

The recruiting company HeadHunter carried out research in 2010 where they questioned 1600 employees of Russian companies on information security.

The research showed that the management of most companies worry about this issue: 75% of companies have strict rules on working with internal information and the larger the staff the stricter these rules are.

  • The management of more than 30% of companies had experienced information leaks.
  • More than 30% of those employees questioned know that their personal correspondence and blogs are monitored.
  • 68% of those questioned admitted signing agreements on information disclosure on joining their company.
  • 52% are aware that special software tracks their computers and 24% that memory sticks are banned.

Despite this, 51% of those questioned believed that they could tell one of their friends or relatives office secrets, while 30% have already done so. Among those questioned were also people who had passed on secret information to competitors.

According to the data from this research, the presence of a company security service makes almost no difference.

The analytics company InfoWatch, which has gathered statistics on information leaks since 2004, estimates the loss due to leaks in 2010 at $200 million. Their statistics show that the internet was the third major source of information leaks after mail and various mobile, data storage and paper media.

It is also interesting that, according to InfoWatch data, that the most popular method, blocking staff access to social networks, does not in any way correlate to the probability of information leaks.