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Insurance For Cybercriminals, or Giant Sting? 72

Posted by timothy
from the needs-scott-joplin-soundtrack dept.
tsu doh nimh writes "Brian Krebs follows up on a recent Slashdot discussion about a cybercrime gang that is recruiting botmasters to help with concerted heists against U.S. financial institutions. The story looks at the underground's skeptical response to this campaign, which is being led by a criminal hacker named vorVzakone ('thief in law'), who has released a series of videos about himself. vorVzakone also is offering a service called 'insurance from criminal prosecution,' in which miscreants can purchase protection from goons who specialize in bribing or intimidating Russian/Eastern European police into scuttling cybercrime investigations. For $100,000, the service also claims to have people willing to go to jail in place of the insured. Many in the criminal underground view the entire scheme as an elaborate police sting operation."
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Insurance For Cybercriminals, or Giant Sting?

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  • by gweihir (88907) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @12:40PM (#41597779)

    Would not be the first time. Even the public self exposure could be amply explained by stupidity. Let us hope law-enforcement is a bit less incompetent for this guy than they usually are with regards to all things Internet.

  • progress (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @12:42PM (#41597809)

    Aw, how cute, they're forming a business services community! What's next, conferences?

  • I see a lot of scams in what I do now and I can tell you that this is one of them.

    First of all, I am highly dubious that this is in fact an elaborate police sting. If it were, all they'd get is the moronic bottom feeding small fish. Not worth the time and money in court costs to prosecute. Cops go after big fish to take out the spider controlling the web or some high profile crook to put the fear of god into other crooks.(See IRS [USA] strategy)

    Is this for real? I don't think so because we wouldn't be seei

  • by William Robinson (875390) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @12:49PM (#41597867)
    Long back I heard that in India there are people offering insurance against getting caught by ticket checker. The insured person pays [freakonomics.com] money in advance and travels without ticket, and when caught pays fine and the amount is reimbursed.
  • Methinks the law enforcement agencies which investigate cybercrime have realized that they are incapable of hiring qualified computer experts who can find the culprits of such crimes, so they decided to get back to the basics. Instead of trying to catch them in cyberspace, where they excel at their trade, they decided to bring the criminals into the police domain, setting up a sting.

    I am interested to see if it actually works.

    • by Animats (122034)

      Methinks the law enforcement agencies which investigate cybercrime have realized that they are incapable of hiring qualified computer experts who can find the culprits of such crimes, so they decided to get back to the basics.

      That's not why the FBI is ineffective in this area. Their manpower allocation on the computer side is 50% "national security", 40% kiddie porn, and 9% investigating fraud complaints from citizens.

  • Sting operation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @01:03PM (#41598019)

    This isn't a sting operation. Law enforcement would not be that obvious; They prefer to infiltrate, get close to the people at the top, gather intelligence, and then orchestrate mass-busts shortly after extracting their operatives. The whole point of undercover work is to not get noticed in the wrong way -- making stupid and risky suggestions for criminal enterprise could get them hurt or killed before they gathered the intelligence they were sent in to acquire.

    No, fortunately for us, this is most likely stupidity on a grand and delusional scale. The person behind this is most likely in his 20s, single, male, above-average intelligence, spend his childhood poor, regular access to computers and public education, an interest in engineering/programming, and has some idea about "getting it all back" either for himself or his family. He may have started out with smaller crimes -- credit card theft, fraud, etc. He probably has a juvenile record from learning the ropes, and that record brought him into contact with more experienced adults. He smartened up and graduated to computer crime.

    There, he honed his programming and engineering skills somewhat (self-taught), and channeled his anger over perceived societal injustice from his teenage years into scams and computer fraud; "They hurt me, I hurt them back ten times worse!" Given his poor track record with crime before, and his sudden 'success' at it now, he quickly developed an exaggerated sense of his abilities and like many young males, now considers himself 'invulnerable'. This latest example simply underscores the extent of his delusional thinking -- and others who are more cautious and experienced don't see that, instead misattributing it to "the police", due to healthy levels of paranoia that permeate the criminal underground.

    Anyway, these types of criminals usually self-destruct within a few years of reaching this critical mass of delusional thinking. If he's "lucky" (I use the word lightly; Obviously, it would be better if he were caught and got help) and isn't caught, he'll take the rejection from his criminal peers as further evidence that the world hates him, and become further isolated as he continues what has now in his mind become a one man crusade against the evil empire. The core attributes of this person is a sense of persecution, intelligence, creativity, and he may be schizo-affective, the key trait here being blunted affect (his emotions seem subdued externally, but may have a very rich internal fantasy world to compensate).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Okay, I RTFA after writing this; Some confirmations. "27-year-old Oleg Vsevolodovich Tolstykh from Moscow". Recently purchased a new vehicle, but not something too ostenacious -- suggests he's recently come into some money, especially given his mentioning his "cars, house, and face." The ordering here isn't random -- he's putting status symbols first, which again underscores that he likely came from poverty. The article doesn't say whether the message from the hacker was translated or if he wrote it as-is.

      • by paxcoder (1222556)

        Analysis of your post: Misunderstanding of Russian outlook on manhood, misunderstanding of the social situation there and how wealth is relative, obvious lack of paranoia, a really good car and a friend in the background (http://krebsonsecurity.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/vorvnsdyt.png).

        If this was a honeypot post, you got me. I am bound to be a criminal, book me, Sigmund Holmes from Precrime.

      • by g8oz (144003)

        I think your analysis would make a lot of sense in the Western context. In the Russian/E. European context the cultural differences are enough to make it useless.

        Basically it comes down to this: you don't have to be a weirdo to do this kind of thing over there.

    • by paxcoder (1222556)

      If only I were a stupid uneducated rich boy in either my teens, or at least 30s watching TV instead of hacking, and not caring about social justice. Maybe I would start on the good path then. -_-

  • Are these the same guys that sold me that darn bridge in new york?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Are these the same guys that sold me that darn bridge in new york?

      Glad I found you... Could you do something about that bridge of yours? The road surface is a disgrace and the whole thing needs a coat of paint.

  • That just sounds like the next logical step of American capitalism, really. Of course, under some peoples' dreams not only would the wealthy be able to pay someone to go to jail for them, but they would get to pick exactly who that person would be - whether that person wants to go or not.
    • by czth (454384)
      Why do you think a wealthy person couldn't bribe a cop to plant some evidence (seems drugs would be easiest) and arrest and jail anyone they like (or, rather, don't like) now? And given the state's courts will take the cop's word over their victim's, they wouldn't even need to bribe a judge; and the jury would baa right along.
      • by TheCarp (96830)

        Jury? as if. Nobody goes in front of a jury anymore.

        More likely the prosecutor will sit there, pile on 10 different charges, each of which could land him in jail, then will offer him a much lighter sentance (either jail or parole) if he just confesses.

        Most people, even innocent ones, will take that deal. In fact, its been shown that the standard techniques used by police and prosecutors can get confessions up to 90% of the time, regardless of real innocense or guilt.

      • Why do you think a wealthy person couldn't bribe a cop to plant some evidence (seems drugs would be easiest) and arrest and jail anyone they like (or, rather, don't like) now? And given the state's courts will take the cop's word over their victim's, they wouldn't even need to bribe a judge; and the jury would baa right along.

        That is slightly different only because of the types of crimes that wealthy people tend to go to prison for. Take Bernie Madoff, for example. Planting drugs on some other person would not have been very useful as his charges had nothing to do with drugs - really, planting evidence in any of the traditional ways would not have likely been effective.

        However, if he wanted to give some random person $400k to sit in jail on his behalf for a few years, a lot of people would take that offer. Even worse a l

        • by AK Marc (707885)

          However, if he wanted to give some random person $400k to sit in jail on his behalf for a few years, a lot of people would take that offer. Even worse a lot of politicians and pundits would applaud it.

          You God Damned Liberals, always interfering with the right of a private person to enter business arrangements with others.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Nothing new here. This is just what some of the more reputable gangs have done for YEARS now. A FOAF was recently actually talking with someone in one of these gangs (the more traditional kind, mexican actually).

      If what the person told him was true, his business is garaunteed. if he gets busted, other gang members take over, and pay his family dividends from the business, when he gets out, the business is his again.

      Of course, this is a form of insurance, but, it makes sense, because its also insurance for t

  • ...Sounds like bank officials.

  • VorVzakone, it's ok to cry.
  • But the best way to avoid a cyberheist is to not have your computer systems infected in the first place. The trouble is, it's becoming increasingly difficult to tell when a system is or is not infected. That's why I advocate the use of a Live CD approach for online banking." link [krebsonsecurity.com]

    Or don't use Microsoft Windows ...

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