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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Security Researcher Hit

While we were being distracted by the Yahoo half-billion-user data breach, within the last few days, Krebs On Security, a blog which I often reference here was slammed with a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack of gargantuan proportions, literally silencing the blog. This was after the venerable Brian Krebs published papers on the vDOS owners. vDOS is an attack-for-hire service hosted in Israel.

Hey, what a surprise, after Krebs, a well-known security blogger (and researcher) made the people behind the attack-for-hire service also well-known, he was himself targeted by the world's largest DDoS attack! These are rich teenagers - they earned more than $600,000 (well, in Bitcoin!) in two years. Apparently their service is in great demand.

How do we know this? Oh it figures - vDOS got hacked and their client base was fully extracted and published (this is known as being "doxed", a term which I sometimes use). And Krebs obtained the information in July. This, and the fact that the FBI took notice, is why those cyber-criminal-teenagers Itay Huri and Yarden Bidani (known as AppleJ4ck) were arrested in Israel.

It's possible that these teenagers, after being arrested in Israel, were simply drafted into the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), because they are both 18 years old (my speculation). Now they can't use the internet for 30 days.

Wow! I was sure it was just going to be a slap on the hand for these two.

Seriously, I hope they can be extradited to the US for prosecution.

The curious thing is that the documents Krebs found indicated that vDOS was literally responsible for the majority of the DDoS attacks on the web, and that the number of packets and data sent might indeed have been Internet-crippling. Apparently DDoS attackers are now taking over personal home routers and using them to accomplish their attacks, which can result on a MUCH larger number of packets being sent because literally anybody can be sending them.

When a security blog gets hit and you are temporarily in the dark about a current threat, you will need to refer to some other security blogs. Here is a decent list.

If you get hacked, you can find out if your data was included in a recent massive breach at haveibeenpwned.com.

If you have more serious concerns, there is a company, terbiumlabs.com, that can persistently search the dark web for your personal info. The info you enter is encrypted on the client side (open your computer) so even they don't know what you are searching for. This is particularly useful for corporate customers, when they're breached, and also for companies monitoring their information security (infoSec).