15 Sep Darknet Diaries
Liberty Reserve was a black market, digital currency bank. A bank where all the dirty money from all the dodgy hacking scams (amongst all the other criminal activity) changed hands or accounts. You have to wonder, where does all that money go when ransomware is successful? Before Bitcoin exploded as a decentralised banking service, there was Liberty Reserve, “PayPal for the unbanked”. A bank that could hold accounts for the unaccountable, of which there are millions of people.
You only know what you know and until today I had never considered where hackers stash their cash. A briefcase full of money is hardly traversing the globe. This thought came to me after listening to a podcast episode of Darknet Diaries, episode 44: Zain.
This is a story about ransomware being used against individuals. There are countless stories of corporate servers and data being stolen and sold back to the company for a fee, usually substantial. In 2020, this blog alone has written about multiple ransomware attacks on Toll, Lion and Fisher&Paykel to name a few. Beyond Australian shores, governments, hospitals, banks, transport companies, telcos and energy suppliers are all continually targeted. Individual targets though, you barely hear about those and there is good reason for that too. In short, hackers target porn users through maladvertising, a paid for ad that takes you to a website running a server based framework that is designed to destroy your computer and delete files.
Then, as loudly and proudly as possible, a threatening message will flash on the screen to incriminate the user to the “police” or “authoritative body” or pay $200 and all will be forgiven. Flashing, intimidating and scary. The figures are astounding. Even if only 5% of those users who are hacked paid Zain to have their computers and pride returned intact, Zain was making a killing.
Want to know where Zain is now? Listen to the podcast episode here. The moral of this story is to dodge a hacker bullet, update your software and install anti-virus.
Faster Networks help businesses protect their digital assets. We are a cyber security partner that brings the best software solutions that anticipate and fix digital vulnerabilities. Our areas of expertise includes Vulnerability Management, Security Orchestration Automation and Response (SOAR), Application Security, Infrastructure Security, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Protection and Application Pentesting.