Saturday, October 09, 2010

FBI Nabs Identity Theft Fugitive in Boston

Travis Andersen writes in The Boston Globe:

FBI agents arrested a fugitive in Brighton on Wednesday night wanted for his alleged role in an identity theft scheme operating out of New York City.

Special agent Richard Kolko, a spokesman for the FBI office in New York, said Boston agents apprehended Nikolai Garafulin, 21, in a building on Commonwealth Avenue. He did not have an exact address.

A spokesman for the Boston Fire Department, which responded to the scene, said the address was in Brighton. Firefighters had to rescue Garafulin after he fled to a fire escape and became trapped, Kolko said.

Garafulin is one of 37 defendants charged in an alleged scheme to use computer malware to steal over $3 million from US bank accounts, according to the New York FBI. He is charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud for his alleged role in the scheme.


Friday, October 08, 2010

Former NSA CTO: Ban Criminal Harboring Countries From the Internet

Asher Moses writes on The Sydney Morning Herald:

Countries in Eastern Europe and Africa that harbour cyber criminals should be locked out of the global internet until their governments do something to reduce the threats, the former chief technology officer at the US National Security Agency says.

The Australian ISP industry is already one of the first in the world to develop an industry code that would see some infected Australian users effectively unable to access the open internet until they clean their computer of malware. This is due to formally come into effect on December 1.

While applauding this idea, Dr Prescott Winter, who left the NSA in February after a 27-year career there, including as its CTO, said governments and internet providers around the world could go a step further and target the source of many of the threats.

Security companies regularly finger countries in Eastern Europe and Africa as being havens for cyber criminals and spawning much of the internet security threats affecting internet users worldwide. Even global superpowers like China have been accused of sponsoring hackers to attack Western internet companies including Google.

More here.

Data Overload Blocks Tracking of Sex Offenders

An AP newswire article by Todd Richmond, via, reports:

A company that provides electronic monitoring to track sex offenders, parolees and others said its system shut down after unexpectedly hitting its data storage limit, leaving authorities across 49 states unaware of offenders' movement for about 12 hours.

Prisons and other corrections agencies were blocked from getting notifications on about 16,000 people being tracked, BI Incorporated spokesman Jock Waldo said Wednesday. The system operated by the Boulder, Colo.-based company reached its data threshold -- more than 2 billion records -- Tuesday morning.

Tracking devices continued to record movement Tuesday, but corrections agencies couldn't immediately view the data. The company has substantially increased its data storage capacity and hasn't heard of any safety issues, Waldo said. People being monitored were unaware of any problems.

More here.

Russian Talent Turning to Cyber Crime

Anastasia Ustinova writes in The New Zealand Herald:

The US Department of Justice said it might have been the most sophisticated computer fraud.

For Viktor Pleshchuk, it was the chance to buy a brand new BMW and an apartment in his hometown of St Petersburg.

The 29-year-old last month pleaded guilty to participating in a worldwide hacking scheme that led to the illegal withdrawal of more than US$9 million ($12 million) from cash machines worldwide operated by RBS WorldPay, the US payment-processing division of Britain's Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

The conviction shed light on a growing trend from Russia.

Just as President Dmitry Medvedev seeks to persuade investors his country is a safe place, more technology graduates are turning to cybercrime.

More here.

Web Traffic Redirected to China Still a Mystery

Elinor Mills writes on C|Net News:

Six months after Web traffic involving popular U.S. sites and e-mail from computers around the globe was re-directed to Chinese servers unnecessarily, Internet watchers are trying to figure out why it happened and how to prevent future mishaps.

In at least two instances since mid-March, large amounts of traffic on the Internet have been routed to China in circumstances still shrouded in mystery, Rodney Joffe, senior technologist at DNS (Domain Name System) registry Neustar, told CNET in an interview this week.

The first situation happened on March 24, when workers at network operation centers in various parts of the world noticed that traffic to popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and about 20 or 30 others was being redirected to servers in China. This had the result of giving Web surfers in western countries a glimpse of what Chinese Internet users see when they try to access sites that are blocked--error messages indicating that the sites don't exist or censored Chinese-language versions of the sites. It's unknown how long the situation lasted, according to Joffe.

The next month, something similar happened on April 8. In this case, 37,000 routes, or paths to groups of Internet Protocol addresses--representing about 10 percent of the total routes--were diverted through servers in China for 17 minutes, Joffe said.

More here.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Programming Note: MAAWG 20th General Meeting, Washington, D.C.

I'll am leaving for Washington, D.C., this morning to attend the MAAWG 20th General Meeting, so blog posts will be few to non-existent until the end of the week.

Thanks for following, and let's be careful out there!

- ferg