Brian Krebbs

In-depth security news and investigation
  1. Amid multiple recent reports of hackers breaking into and tampering with drinking water treatment systems comes a new industry survey with some sobering findings: A majority of the 52,000 separate drinking water systems in the United States still haven't inventoried some or any of their information technology systems -- a basic first step in protecting networks from cyberattacks.
  2. In May 2019, KrebsOnSecurity broke the news that the website of mortgage settlement giant First American Financial Corp. [NYSE:FAF] was leaking more than 800 million documents -- many containing sensitive financial data -- related to real estate transactions dating back more than 16 years. This week, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission settled its investigation into the matter after the Fortune 500 company agreed to pay a paltry penalty of less than $500,000.
  3. Authorities in Ukraine this week charged six people alleged to have been part of the CLOP ransomware group, a cybercriminal gang said to have extorted more than half a billion dollars from victims. Some of CLOP's victims this year alone include Stanford University Medical School, the University of California, and University of Maryland.
  4. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) last week announced the arrest of a 55-year-old Latvian woman who’s alleged to have worked as a programmer for Trickbot, a malware-as-a-service platform responsible for infecting millions of computers and seeding many of those systems with ransomware. Just how did a self-employed web site designer and mother of two come to work for one of the world’s most rapacious cybercriminal groups and then leave such an obvious trail of clues indicating her involvement with the gang? This post explores answers to those questions, as well as some of the ways Trickbot and other organized cybercrime gangs gradually recruit, groom and trust new programmers.
  5. Microsoft today released another round of security updates for Windows operating systems and supported software, including fixes for six zero-day bugs that malicious hackers already are exploiting in active attacks.
  6. The U.S. Department of Justice said today it has recovered $2.3 million worth of Bitcoin that Colonial Pipeline paid to ransomware extortionists last month. The funds had been sent to DarkSide, a ransomware-as-a-service syndicate that disbanded after a May 14 farewell message to affiliates saying its Internet servers and cryptocurrency stash were seized by unknown law enforcement entities.
  7. KrebsOnSecurity recently had occasion to contact the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), the Russian equivalent of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In the process of doing so, I encountered a small snag: The FSB's website said in order to contact them securely, I needed to download and install an encryption and virtual private networking (VPN) appliance that is flagged by at least 20 antivirus products as malware. The reason I contacted the FSB -- one of the successor agencies to the Russian KGB -- ironically enough had to do with security concerns raised about the FSB's own preferred method of being contacted.
  8. Fake, positive reviews have infiltrated nearly every corner of life online these days, confusing consumers while offering an unwelcome advantage to fraudsters and sub-par products everywhere. Happily, identifying and tracking these fake reviewer accounts is often the easiest way to spot scams. Here's the story of how bogus reviews on a counterfeit Microsoft Authenticator browser extension exposed dozens of other extensions that siphoned personal and financial data.
  9. Florian "The Shark" Tudor, the alleged ringleader of a prolific ATM skimming gang that has stolen hundreds of millions from tourists visiting Mexico over the past eight years, was arrested in Mexico City on Thursday in response to an extradition warrant from a Romanian court.
  10. One of the oldest scams around -- the fake job interview that seeks only to harvest your personal and financial data -- is on the rise, the FBI warns. Here's the story of a recent LinkedIn impersonation scam that led to more than 100 people getting duped, and one almost-victim who decided the job offer was too-good-to-be-true.

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