Hackers hacking hackers to knacker white hat cracker trackers

'These Russians speak really good Farsi' and other signs thieves lack honour

ACSC2016 Malware writers are selling each other out to white hats and hacking through each other's infrastructure to frame rivals, Shadowserver's Richard Perlotto says.

Richard Perlotto. Image: Darren Pauli, The Register.

The treachery is a bid to prompt Shadowserver and fellow malware investigators to take down their rival's command and control servers and domains.

Perlotto says they are happy to oblige.

"We are seeing A-level actors hacking through B-level and C-level actors, sometimes through two or three of em," Perlotto told the Australian Cyber Security Conference in Canberra today.

"The criminals are pointing each other to us saying 'hey this arsehole's over here, take him out' and we do."

"They will dox each other too and we benefit from that."

Sometimes these hack-throughs are obvious. Pakistan hackers in one instance owned a Russian hacking group to confuse researchers and draw heat to their competitors. "I looked over it and asked 'why are these Russians using really good Farsi'?"

The better malware writers are abandoning prefab kits and instead opting for higher quality custom code, the investigator says. This makes their malware stealthier and means their hacking campaigns run longer before being detected and blocked.

The trend may flow down to the shoddier VXers, Pelotto says.

Off-the-shelf and exploit kits are still popular for their effectiveness in pwning unpatched systems with minimal effort, and plays a prominent role in malvertising and spreading ransomware.®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Deepfake attacks can easily trick live facial recognition systems online
    Plus: Next PyTorch release will support Apple GPUs so devs can train neural networks on their own laptops

    In brief Miscreants can easily steal someone else's identity by tricking live facial recognition software using deepfakes, according to a new report.

    Sensity AI, a startup focused on tackling identity fraud, carried out a series of pretend attacks. Engineers scanned the image of someone from an ID card, and mapped their likeness onto another person's face. Sensity then tested whether they could breach live facial recognition systems by tricking them into believing the pretend attacker is a real user.

    So-called "liveness tests" try to authenticate identities in real-time, relying on images or video streams from cameras like face recognition used to unlock mobile phones, for example. Nine out of ten vendors failed Sensity's live deepfake attacks.

    Continue reading
  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022