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    118: Hot Swaps

    Keeping sensitive data secure should be taken seriously, with security breaches having the potential for significant consequences. Both companies and individuals must remain vigilant and cautious to protect themselves from attackers.

    en-usMay 31, 2022

    About this Episode

    This is the story of Joseph Harris (https://twitter.com/akad0c). When he was a young teen he got involved with stealing video game accounts and selling them for money. This set him on a course where he flew higher and higher until he got burned. Joseph sometimes demonstrates vulnerabilities he finds on his YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdcuF5Zx6BiYmwnS-CiRAng. Listen to episode 112 “Dirty Coms” to hear more about what goes on in the communities Joseph was involed with. Sponsors Support for this show comes from Axonius. Securing assets — whether managed, unmanaged, ephemeral, or in the cloud — is a tricky task. The Axonius Cybersecurity Asset Management Platform correlates asset data from existing solutions to provide an always up-to-date inventory, uncover gaps, and automate action. Axonius gives IT and security teams the confidence to control complexity by mitigating threats, navigating risk, decreasing incidents, and informing business-level strategy — all while eliminating manual, repetitive tasks. Support for this show comes from Synack. Synack is a penetration testing firm. But they also have a community of, people like you, who earn regular money by legally hacking. If you’re interested in getting paid to hack, visit them now at synack.com/red-team, and click ‘apply now.’ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Craps is a game designed for the house to always win, and online casinos have strict rules. Hacking can be easy to get into, but it's important to practice ethical principles.
    • Protect your online game accounts with strong passwords and utilize two-factor authentication. Stay aware of social engineering tactics and be cautious of any emails requesting password resets.
    • Cybersecurity is crucial to prevent unauthorized access to personal information and finances. Use backup phrases for Bitcoin accounts and promptly patch vulnerabilities to stay secure, especially in the crypto and Bitcoin industry.
    • Protect your cryptocurrency accounts with strong passwords and two-factor authentication, report suspicious activities to authorities, and conduct thorough research before making any investments. Be cautious of scams and remember cryptocurrencies are vulnerable to cyber theft.
    • This interview sheds light on the motivations and thought processes of cybercriminals, emphasizing the need for individuals to protect their personal information and practice good cybersecurity habits.
    • While trust strengthens the bond between parents and children, it's important for parents to remain vigilant and ask questions to ensure their child's safety and well-being.
    • Hacking using leaked information is not only illegal but also temporary gain. The risks of getting caught and the limitations of a dwindling resource are not worth the illicit gains.
    • Fraudulent groups can access personal data and steal cryptocurrencies through SIM-swapping, even using social engineering to reset passwords. Keep your online information safe and secure.
    • Be cautious about who you give personal information to and regularly update security question answers to prevent individuals like Joseph Harris from gaining unauthorized access to your accounts.
    • When it comes to storing sensitive information, it's important to be vigilant and avoid cloud storage or emails where hackers can easily access the data. Manual review of all storage locations is crucial, and avoid writing down private keys or using backup photos. Turn off sync settings and be mindful of where backups are stored to prevent authentication information from falling into the wrong hands.
    • Easy-to-use features in smartphones can compromise phone security, but phone companies are implementing stronger security measures to combat cybercriminals. It is important to remain vigilant and cautious to protect confidential information.
    • Keeping sensitive data secure should be taken seriously, with security breaches having the potential for significant consequences. Both companies and individuals must remain vigilant and cautious to protect themselves from attackers.
    • Simply deleting files is not enough to ensure sensitive data is erased from a device. Physical destruction is a safer and more effective method to prevent skilled forensics professionals from recovering data that can lead to legal and financial trouble.
    • Use privacy coins like Monero and launder money through multiple accounts to avoid detection. However, beware that authorities can still trace crypto and take legal action. Cryptocurrency theft is not a victimless crime.
    • Always prioritize strong security measures to protect against cyber attacks when investing in volatile assets like cryptocurrencies.
    • SIM-swapping is a serious crime that can result in large fines and long jail terms. Be cautious while handling SIM cards and phones to avoid being involved in illegal activities like Joseph and Joel, who ruined lives and ended up in prison.
    • Cybersecurity measures need to be strengthened and ethical decision-making encouraged to prevent cryptocurrency theft and price fluctuations.
    • Making informed decisions while well-rested is crucial in cryptocurrency exchange. Impulsive decisions can lead to devastating outcomes, and engaging in illegal activities can have severe consequences. Always seek legal counsel and exercise caution.
    • SIM-swapping crimes can lead to arrest and jail time. Digital footprints and IP addresses can track culprits. It's essential to keep devices and networks secure to protect against data theft and cybercrime. VPNs can safeguard online activities and protect privacy from hackers and government surveillance.
    • Joseph Harris' journey highlights the importance of ethical hacking and the value of realizing the impact of actions. Skills can be used for good, and even with a light sentence, redemption is possible.
    • Take steps to protect your digital assets, such as storing crypto assets in a safe, not storing private keys or seed phrases digitally, enabling two-factor authentication, and being cautious of emails and links. Contact authorities like REACT if victimized to possibly reduce a cybercriminal's sentence.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    The Challenges of Craps Betting and Risks of Hacking

    While trying to find an effective betting strategy for craps, even with simulations and algorithms, it is difficult to find a way around the fact that the game is designed for the house to always win. Moreover, online casinos have strict rules that follow the logic of the game and do not allow space for exploiting. Additionally, Darknet Diaries highlights the story of Joseph Harris, who started hacking into video games like RuneScape or Club Penguin and later carried out a big hack. It showed how easy it is to get into hacking and cybersecurity if one is not careful or does not abide by ethical practices.

    The Dangers of Online Game Account Trading and Social Engineering

    Online multiplayer game accounts can have a high monetary value and may be sold in a secondary market. Some people may try to social engineer their way into other players' accounts by doxing them and tricking e-mail providers into resetting the password. This can pose a risk to individuals' personal accounts, and it is important to secure them with strong passwords and two-factor authentication. E-mail providers have since implemented security measures to prevent this kind of attack, but it is still possible for determined social engineers to find ways around them.

    Exploiting OG Usernames and Vulnerabilities in GMX Email Accounts for Bitcoin Theft.

    Transitioning to OG usernames that are short and catchy can be lucrative, and the crypto and Bitcoin industry presents opportunities for obtaining wealth by infiltrating e-mails. A vulnerability in GMX allowed Joseph to take over e-mail accounts of individuals who had Bitcoin. Searching for keywords such as Bitcoin and GMX on Google can help find potential targets, but having a secondary backup phrase for a Bitcoin account can prevent the hacker from stealing the funds. Cybersecurity is crucial, and vulnerabilities need to be patched promptly to prevent unauthorized access to personal information and finances.

    Cybersecurity risks in the world of cryptocurrency.

    The story narrates various incidents where people used hacking techniques to steal cryptocurrency from exchange websites and individuals. It is crucial to take cybersecurity seriously and secure personal exchange accounts with strong passwords and two-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access. It is essential to remember that cryptocurrencies are vulnerable to cyber theft, and users must exercise caution while storing and trading them. The story also highlights the importance of reporting suspicious activities to authorities to prevent further security breaches. Cryptocurrency investors and traders should beware of such fraudulent schemes and scams and conduct thorough research before getting involved in any investment.

    The Dark Side of Cybercrime: One Criminal's Story

    The interviewee, Joseph, committed cyber crimes such as stealing usernames, resetting passwords, and selling accounts. He did not feel guilty about it as he believed that he was not physically hurting anyone. However, he drew the line at swatting, which he considered could cause serious harm to someone. Joseph did not practice good operational security and did not have a solid moral compass, but he has since realized the wrongness of his actions. The interview offers insight into the attitudes and circumstances that lead people to commit cyber crimes and highlights the importance of protecting personal information and practicing good cybersecurity habits.

    Trust in Parenting: The Pros and Cons

    Joseph's parents were not suspicious of his strange amount of money because he mostly saved it and spent it on video games and Yu-Gi-Oh cards. Although they knew that people wanted his accounts and would go to strange lengths to get them, they trusted him and never questioned him. This trust also proved to be useful when the cops first came to their house for swatting, and Joseph was able to separate himself from the illegal activity by portraying himself as the victim. Later when he was caught for stealing an Instagram account with millions of followers and making money off of it, they still didn't have enough evidence to arrest him, but they seized all his computers.

    The risks and limitations of using leaked information for hacking.

    Joseph used his hacking skills to gain passwords from a leaked e-mail list of BTCE exchange's cryptocurrency users. He searched the public database for breaches to find passwords through variants of commonly used ones. Joseph was able to identify the pattern of varying common passwords with specific website names, and was able to access some accounts by resetting their passwords. He made around 30 Bitcoins for a value of $10,000 to $15,000. However, after some time, the leaked list had diminished and accounts were drained. Joseph realized that his illicit gains were not worth his constant hacking efforts.

    SIM-swapping and Crypto Theft

    SIM-swapping was an easy way for online criminals to steal people's cryptocurrencies and gain access to their personal data. The group that Joseph was involved with targeted Augur pre-sale investors and obtained a list of everyone who had deposited money during the launch. They got access to the spreadsheet of initial investors, which had e-mail addresses, purchase details and ETH addresses. SIM-swapping helped them get into their accounts and steal their money. It was easier to access AOL and Yahoo e-mails by calling them up and convincing them to reset the password. Joseph helped this group with other crypto-related accounts, but they didn't share the valuable Augur list with him.

    The dangers of social engineering tactics and a Google bug

    Joseph Harris used social engineering tactics to gain access to email accounts by tricking customer support representatives. He would call the billing department to add fake credit card information to the account. This fake card would then be used to verify the account and gain access to security question answers. Joseph would then update these answers so that the real owner could not regain access to the account. He later found a bug in Google that relied heavily on cookies. He created fake cookies, which made it look like the user was logged in, allowing him to reset their passwords easily. Users should be cautious about who they give personal information to and should regularly update their security question answers.

    Be Careful Where You Store Sensitive Information

    Be cautious about storing sensitive information in Cloud storage or e-mails since hackers like Joseph scour these storage places in search of sensitive data. They manually go through every e-mail, any lead that could possibly lead to something because a machine can miss it. Hence, it is crucial to manually go through every possible storage location and not to miss anything. It is essential not to write down private keys in Cloud storage, take backup photos, or store backup in Yahoo Photos. Additionally, if someone hasnt turned off their sync settings, automatically if they take a photo of the seed, it syncs to iCloud, which can be viewed in Google Photos or iCloud, enabling hackers to get authentication information.

    The Risk of Compromising Phone Security and How Companies are Fighting Back Against Cybercriminals.

    Easy-to-use features in smartphones compromise phone security and allow hackers to access confidential information. The backup of photos on the cloud makes it easier to access them, but also increases the risk of cybersecurity breaches. Sim-swapping, the process of gaining access to confidential accounts, became a trend in 2016 when cybercriminals discovered a Gmail bug and breached the accounts of Augur investors. The rise of cryptocurrencies provided opportunities to cybercriminals to steal digital assets. However, with the increase in cybersecurity, phone companies are now requiring users to know account numbers or security numbers to swap sims, making simming harder for cybercriminals. Cybercriminals are always finding new ways to breach systems, and it is essential to remain cautious and be mindful of cybersecurity threats.

    The Importance of Tightened User Data Security Measures

    Hackers possess creativity and an enormous human willpower to breach data. Any small breach in data can lead to more significant consequences such as millions of dollars in stolen money from users. Companies like Verizon and T-Mobile need to be more cautious with their user data and tighten their security measures to prevent such breaches and attacks. Security professionals and defenders must visualize the possible consequences that can arise from such breaches and attacks to combat them effectively. Hackers like Joseph are ruthless about stealing people's cryptocurrencies and mastering ways to access people's emails. Therefore, it's essential to be more vigilant and cautious with your personal data to protect yourself from such attackers.

    Destroying Storage Devices: An Effective Method to Prevent Legal and Financial Trouble

    Deleting files or using simple deletion commands is often not enough to get rid of important data from a computer. Advanced forensic techniques can still recover data if it wasn't overwritten. As demonstrated by Joseph, it is much safer to destroy the physical storage device rather than just deleting the files from it. Repeated destruction is necessary and even if it looks like an overreaction, it is better to be safe than sorry. Even the slightest trace of data can be enough for skilled forensics professionals to recover sensitive data, which can put an individual in legal and financial trouble. Destruction of storage devices completely can help in the prevention of legal and financial trouble.

    How to Avoid Being Tracked When Stealing Cryptocurrency

    Cryptocurrency theft can be tricky as all exchanges require KYC, but using privacy coins like Monero and laundering money through different accounts can help avoid being tracked. Caution is necessary because the authorities can still track the crypto to an exchange and trace the casher afterward. Joseph made use of German Binance accounts and Monero to scrape off his earnings cleanly before depositing them into Coinbase. He had no interest in a lavish lifestyle, and he lived simply with his roommates. It is worth emphasizing that cryptocurrency theft is not a victimless crime, and there can be criminal consequences.

    The risks of crypto investments and the importance of strong security measures

    The rush of becoming a millionaire can be addictive, but the volatility of crypto investments can lead to significant losses. Gmail's new security features made SIM-swapping more difficult to access accounts, but Joseph found a way to bypass them using a bug in web debugging and SIM-swapping. He targeted the CEO of Crowd Machine, a crypto company, thinking he must have access to a large wallet. Despite the CEO's two-step security, Joseph was able to use his bug to gain access to the wallet. This story highlights the importance of strong security measures to protect against cyber attacks and the risks of investing in volatile assets like cryptocurrencies.

    The dangers of SIM-swapping and its consequences

    SIM-swapping is a serious crime and can lead to hefty fines and long prison terms. One should be cautious while handling SIM and cell phones and avoid getting involved in such illegal activities. The theft of $23 million by Joel Ortiz using a SIM-swap attack is a prime example of how it can ruin lives and leave you behind bars. Joseph, on the other hand, sim swapped to access the CEO's phone and took control of the wallet with $3 million worth Crowd Machine cryptocurrency. Therefore, to avoid getting identified by cell towers, he drove to a far-off place, bought a new SIM card, and used his vulnerability to bypass two-step verification.

    The Crowdsale Wallet Heist: A Tale of Morality and Cybersecurity

    Joseph automated the process of sending coins to investors and stole $15 million worth of Crowd Machine cryptocurrency. He decided to leave $5 million in the crowdsale wallet due to a bit of guilt even though it didn't make much sense. He realized that the more he exchanges the coin, the lower the price will go. So, he made a deal with the company that he stole from, asking for $8 million in Bitcoin in exchange for returning the $14 million. His proposal saved the company's coin from crashing. The incident highlights the need for stricter cybersecurity measures, as well as the importance of having a strong moral compass and ethical decision-making.

    The Risks and Consequences of Illegal Activities in Cryptocurrency Exchange

    Joseph's experience with exchanging cryptocurrencies taught him the importance of being well-rested and making informed decisions. His decision to exchange the coin for Ethereum caused the value to decrease, resulting in investor anger. Joseph's attempts to avoid getting caught by the police led to his cousin's wrongful arrest. Joseph's refusal to answer police questions without a lawyer ultimately landed him in an Oklahoma jail cell. The story highlights the risks of engaging in illegal activities and the consequences that may ensue. It also emphasizes that making impulsive decisions, especially when low on sleep, can lead to undesirable outcomes.

    The Severity of SIM-Swapping Crimes and the Importance of Digital Security.

    SIM-swapping crimes are taken seriously by law enforcement agencies. Even the best hackers in America can be put behind bars, as demonstrated by Joseph's arrest and jail term for his involvement in SIM-swapping. Investigators can trace culprits using digital footprints and IP address. It's crucial to keep devices and networks secure to evade data theft and cybercrime, especially for corporations and individuals who handle sensitive information. VPNs can be effective in safeguarding online activities and protecting privacy from hackers, government surveillance, and other online threats.

    From Crypto Criminal to Ethical Hacker: The Redemption of Joseph Harris

    Joseph Harris got arrested for a hack involving crypto crimes. He was caught red-handed, and evidence like phone purchase, Walmart surveillance footage, etc. led prosecutors to sentence him to prison. Joseph's time in jail taught him the value of freedom and made him realize the impact of his actions. He learned his lesson and decided to use his skills ethically by finding vulnerabilities and reporting them through bug bounty programs. His moral values came back, and he hasn't committed any more crimes since then. His chance to make things right came with a light sentence, which was an opportunity for him to start afresh. Joseph's journey teaches us the importance of realizations and ethical hacking, where the skills could be used to bring value rather than causing harm.

    Tips to Protect Your Digital Assets from Cybercrime

    Cooperating with the authorities could lead to a shorter sentence for cybercriminals. Victims of cyber-heists should contact REACT task force and store their crypto assets in a safe instead of the Cloud. Private keys or seed phrases should not be stored digitally, and two-factor authentication on social media accounts should be enabled. Email should be a priority and links that seem too good to be true should be treated with caution. Cybercriminals are constantly looking for ways to steal valuable digital assets, and individuals need to fortify their digital life to protect themselves.

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    136: Team Xecuter

    136: Team Xecuter
    Team Xecuter was a group involved with making and selling modchips for video game systems. They often made mods that allowed the video game system to rip games or play pirated games. It was a crowd favorite in the modding scene. Until it all fell apart. The story of what happened to Team Xecuter must be heard to believe. This episode features Gary Bowser. You can find more about Gary here: https://twitter.com/Bowser_GaryOPA https://garyopa.com/ https://www.gofundme.com/f/garyopa-restarting-his-life?utm_location=darknetdiaries Sponsors Support for this show comes from Axonius. The Axonius solution correlates asset data from your existing IT and security solutions to provide an always up-to-date inventory of all devices, users, cloud instances, and SaaS apps, so you can easily identify coverage gaps and automate response actions. Axonius gives IT and security teams the confidence to control complexity by mitigating threats, navigating risk, decreasing incidents, and informing business-level strategy — all while eliminating manual, repetitive tasks. Visit axonius.com/darknet to learn more and try it free. Support for this show comes from Thinkst Canary. Their canaries attract malicious actors in your network and then send you an alert if someone tries to access them. Great early warning system for knowing when someone is snooping around where they shouldn’t be. Check them out at https://canary.tools. Support for this show comes from ThreatLocker. ThreatLocker has built-in endpoint security solutions that strengthen your infrastructure from the ground up with a zero trust posture. ThreatLocker’s Allowlisting gives you a more secure approach to blocking exploits of known and unknown vulnerabilities. ThreatLocker provides zero trust control at the kernel level. Learn more at www.threatlocker.com. Sources https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1994/10/27/ringleader-pleads-guilty-in-phone-fraud/56e551bb-a727-43e8-a3ca-1c1f4cf6ef82/ https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/usao/legacy/2010/10/12/usab4304.pdf https://www.eurogamer.net/nintendo-to-appeal-not-guilty-judgement-of-flash-cart-sellers-7 https://www.gamesindustry.biz/nintendo-pounces-on-global-piracy-outfit https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-members-notorious-videogame-piracy-group-team-xecuter-custody https://medium.com/swlh/watch-paint-dry-how-i-got-a-game-on-the-steam-store-without-anyone-from-valve-ever-looking-at-it-2e476858c753#.z05q2nykc https://www.lemonde.fr/police-justice/article/2022/05/27/voler-des-societes-qui-font-des-milliards-qu-est-ce-que-j-en-ai-a-faire-max-louarn-c-ur-de-hackeur_6127821_1653578.html https://www.theverge.com/2020/11/20/21579392/nintendo-big-house-super-smash-bros-melee-tournament-slippi-cease-desist https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7VwtOrwceo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sNIE5anpik Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    135: The D.R. Incident

    135: The D.R. Incident
    Omar Avilez worked in the CSIRT of the Dominican Republic when a major cyber security incident erupted. Omar walks us through what happened and the incident response procedures that he went through. Breakmaster Cylinder’s new album: https://breakmastercylinder.bandcamp.com/album/the-moon-all-that. Sponsors Support for this show comes from Varonis. Do you wonder what your company’s ransomware blast radius is? Varonis does a free cyber resilience assessment that tells you how many important files a compromised user could steal, whether anything would beep if they did, and a whole lot more. They actually do all the work – show you where your data is too open, if anyone is using it, and what you can lock down before attackers get inside. They also can detect behavior that looks like ransomware and stop it automatically. To learn more visit www.varonis.com/darknet. Support for this show comes from Axonius. The Axonius solution correlates asset data from your existing IT and security solutions to provide an always up-to-date inventory of all devices, users, cloud instances, and SaaS apps, so you can easily identify coverage gaps and automate response actions. Axonius gives IT and security teams the confidence to control complexity by mitigating threats, navigating risk, decreasing incidents, and informing business-level strategy — all while eliminating manual, repetitive tasks. Visit axonius.com/darknet to learn more and try it free. Support for this show comes from Flare. Flare automates monitoring across the dark & clear web to detect high-risk exposure, before threat actors have a chance to leverage it. Their unified solution makes it easy to rapidly identify risks across thousands of sources, including developers leaking secrets on public GitHub Repositories, threat actors selling infected devices on dark web markets, and targeted attacks being planned on illicit Telegram Channels. Visit https://flare.io to learn more. Sources https://www.wired.com/story/costa-rica-ransomware-conti/ https://malpedia.caad.fkie.fraunhofer.de/details/win.bandook https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHYH0U66K5Q https://www.youtube.com/live/prCr7Z94078 https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2023/02/uncle-sow-dark-caracal-latin-america https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/quantum-ransomware-attack-disrupts-govt-agency-in-dominican-republic/ https://www.welivesecurity.com/2021/07/07/bandidos-at-large-spying-campaign-latin-america/ Attribution Darknet Diaries is created by Jack Rhysider. Assembled by Tristan Ledger. Episode artwork by odibagas. Mixing by Proximity Sound. Theme music created by Breakmaster Cylinder. Theme song available for listen and download at bandcamp. Or listen to it on Spotify. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices