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Cybernews from the dark side – July 26, 2014.

Remote controlled car – your car, while you’re driving it…

News about new hacks, targeted attacks and malware outbreaks is beginning to bore the general public. It’s becoming an incessant stream after all. What isn’t boring the life out of the general public is something a bit more unusual: stuff you wouldn’t dream could be hacked… getting hacked.

A report from China told how hackers broke into the Tesla motor car’s gadgetry – as part of a contest during a hacker conference. So, why Tesla? What’s so good about Tesla? Well, that’ll be its being an electric car, and its being crammed with so much ‘smart’ electronics that it hardly resembles an automobile than a mobile supercomputer. Still, what was Tesla expecting? Any new functionality – especially that developed without the involvement of IT security experts – will inevitably bring with it new threats via vulnerabilities, which is just what the hackers at the conference in China found.

Cybernews from the darkside

Read on: malware getting closer to industrial systems…

Beyond good and evil?

A few days ago Microsoft announced a large scale raid on the dynamic DNS service No-IP, as a result of which 22 of its domains were seized. The guys in Redmond said there were very good reasons for this: No-IP hosts all kinds of unpleasant malware; No-IP is a breeding ground of cybercriminals; No-IP is an epicenter for targeted attacks; and No-IP never agrees to working with anyone else on trying to root out all the badness.

Like in most conflicts, the sides have exchanged the contradictory volleys of announcements in the eternal tradition of ‘it’s his fault – no she started it’.

In particular, No-IP has said it’s a real goody-two-shoes and always willing to cooperate in eliminating sources of cyberattacks, while its clients are most displeased with the raid and consider it an illegal attack on legal business – since it’s possible to find malware practically anywhere, so interrupting services through a court is simply not on.

In the meantime, the result of the raid has been rather far-reaching: more than four million sites were pulled, including both malicious and harmless ones – affecting 1.8 million users. Microsoft is trying to sieve the wheat from the chaff and get the clean sites back up and running; however, many users are still complaining about ongoing disruption.

To work out who’s to blame is a thankless and probably hopeless task. I’ll leave the journalistic investigations to… the journalists. Instead, here let me give you some food for thought: dry, raw facts and figures – so maybe/hopefully you’ll be able to come to your own conclusions about the legality and ethicality of MS’s actions, based on those facts and figures…

1)      Shutting down 22 No-IP domains affected the operations of around 25% of the targeted attacks that we keep track of here at KL. That’s thousands of spy and cybercriminal operations ongoing for the last three years. Approximately a quarter of those have at least one command and control center (C&C) with this host. For example, hacker groups like the Syrian Electronic Army and Gaza Team use only No-IP, while Turla uses it for 90% of its hosts.

2)      We can confirm that out of all large providers the No-IP dynamic DNS was the most unwilling to cooperate. For example, they ignored all our emails about a botnet sinkhole.

3)      Our analysis of current malware shows that No-IP is often used by the cyberswine for botnet control centers. A simple search via the Virustotal scanning engine confirms this fact with a cold hard figure: a total of 4.5 million unique malware samples sprout from No-IP.

4)      However, the latest numbers from our security cloud (KSN) show something not quite so cut and dry. Here’s a table showing detections of cyberattacks from dozens of the largest dynamic DNS services:

Service % of malicious hosts Number of detections (in a week)
000webhost.com 89.47% 18,163
changeip.com 39.47% 89,742
dnsdynamic.org 37.04% 756
sitelutions.com 36.84% 199
no-ip.com 27.50% 29,382
dtdns.com 17.65% 14
dyn.com 11.51% 2321
smartdots.com 0.00% 0
oray.com 0.00% 0
dnserver.com 0.00% 0

So – No-IP isn’t leading in the number of detections, even though they’re still really high compared to most.

Here’s some more info for comparison: the % of malware hosts in the .com zone makes up 0.03% of the total; in the .ru zone – 0.39%; but in No-IP the figure’s 27.5%!

And now for other figures that add a bit of a different perspective: in one week, malware domains on No-IP generated around 30,000 detections, while in the same week on one of the most malicious domains in the .com zone, the figure was 429,000 – almost 14 times higher. Also: the tenth most infected domain in the .ru zone generated 146,000 detections – that is, about the same as the first ten providers of dynamic DNS mentioned above put together!

To summarize…

On the one hand, blocking popular services that are used by thousands – if not millions – of typical users: it ain’t right. On the other hand, closing spawning grounds for malware is right – and noble.

But then mathematics takes on the role of devil’s advocate, and proves:

Quantitatively, closing all the domains of No-IP is no more effective in combatting the distribution of malware than closing one single top malware domain in one of the popular zones, i.e., .com, .net, or even .ru. Simpler put, even if you were to shut down all providers of dynamic DNS – the Internet still wouldn’t become ‘cleaner’ enough to notice the difference.

So there you have it – ambiguity with a big A. 

It leaves anyone in their right and honest-with-themselves mind to admit things are far from black and white here, and as regards the right and wrong, or good and bad, or Nietzsche’s thing – who can tell?

Still, another thought comes to mind at some point while reflecting on all this…

It’s further evidence that as soon as the quantity of piracy or degree of criminality gets above a certain threshold, the ‘powers that be’ get involved all of a sudden and start closing services, ignoring any notions of Internet freedom or freedom to do business. It’s just the way things are, a rule of life of human society: If it stinks, sooner or later it’ll get cleaned up.

The list of blocked services is already rather long: Napster, KaZaA, eMule, Pirate Bay and so on. Now No-IP’s been added to the list.

Who’s next?

// Bitcoin? It’s already begun.

 

Cybercriminals beware: CYBERPOL is coming…

Who are these folks? Maybe the color of (most of) the ties should give you a clue…

INTERPOL - Global Center for Innovation

And I was trying to blend in…

…For most of you they’ll never have anything to do with you, and you’ll have nothing to do with them. You hope.

But for those who make up the Internet minority who steal money from online banks, clog up e-mail with spam, hack websites, produce credit cards with stolen numbers, etc. – maybe they should take note of this modest crowd. Because these here suits and ties have a particular, burning… obsessive professional interest in that same Internet minority.

Read on: so, who are these people?…

The patent trolls can be defeated – just never give up!

Hurray! Drum roll… cymbal crash + orchestral hit! We’ve beaten yet another US patent troll! The enemy is defeated, demoralized, and on the run! Churchill was right: “Never give up!” We’ve followed his advice in our fight against a particular troll. As a result the troll gave up and ran away with nothing and its tail between its legs.

“Shock, happiness, joy and adrenaline – all in one”

- That’s how N.K. (our Chief Intellectual Property Counsel) described this victory. For this time the troll was of a higher caliber and its ‘connections’ were way more heavyweight.

lodsys

Shock, happiness, joy and adrenaline all in one – I couldn’t agree more. Our 18-month court case with Lodsys (one of the ‘tentacles’ of the world’s largest and most notorious of patent trolls – Intellectual Ventures (“IV”)) was brought to a sudden halt by a full and unconditional capitulation by this abominable patent parasite. As per the norm, we won once again alone, with another 54 defendant companies deciding to settle with the extortionist, while others shamefully fled the battlefield altogether. In all the patent troll has shaken down more than 400 IT companies!

Now for the details…

More: Once upon a time there was an inventor, who invented feedback…

Kings of Lyon.

A little while back we had the General Secretary of Interpol, Ronald Noble, visit us in Moscow. He really is quite a guy. He’s been awarded the French Legion of Honor, is a professor of the New York University School of Law, and – surprise, surprise! – is an honorary professor of the Urals State Legal Academy (if you believe the Russian Wikipedia page on him:). Anyway, it’s now my turn to pay him a combined business and social call…

eugene-kaspersky-interpol1

Lyon in France houses the head office of Interpol. When I asked “Can I take photographs?”, I was delighted by the answer, “whatever and wherever you like”.

More: So I took some photographs…

INTERPOL drop inter KL.

A few days ago our first – ah, no, second! – ever A-list guests dropped by our new office to see us. Ronald Noble, the Secretary General of INTERPOL, and our good acquaintance Noboru Nakatani, the head of INTERPOL’s new cyber division in Singapore, came to see us on a friendly visit that resulted in the official announcement of our cooperation to more effectively fight cybercrime on a global level.

interpol-kaspersky-team-fight-cybercrime-international-level1

More: Calling all cyberswine – watch out!…

Catching the Phishes.

Just recently Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) and Federal Security Service (FSB), with the expert assistance of KL Cybercrime Investigation Unit (CIU) brought to a successful conclusion a criminal case regarding phishing. The culprits were identified and sentenced, justice was meted out, and one more nail was hammered into the coffin of romantic imaginings about cybercrime. I hope. The case would have been a run-of-the-mill “typical” one if not for one circumstance: It was the first phishing case in Russia whose investigation ran to completion. Before it was unrealistic to expect to get such a case to court while, at best, it was only possible to ever catch the lower level “runners” of the responsible criminal hierarchy. The story began in the spring of 2010 as a classic phishing scenario …

More: Catching the Phishes.. . .

SOPA-Dodger.

Recently the US blogosphere has become increasingly alarmed by the new Anti-Piracy Act – Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA. Discussions of the topic are, to put it mildly, quite frank, with comments like: “These idiots are coming for your internet”. What is SOPA? …

More: SOPA-Dodger.. . .

It’s the End of the Net as We Know It.

Time to tell you about a bunch of really exciting events I’ve been to over the past few weeks. It’s been a fairly crazy mini-tour covering Geneva, Dublin and London non-stop. Two or three days in each city and each time talking to some very interesting people on all sorts of hot topics. Last stop – the London Conference on Cyberspace. This was quite something – in fact, it unexpectedly turned out to be this year’s best event I was involved in! …

More: It’s the End of the Net as We Know It.. . .

Law-abiding Cyber-folk of the World – Unite!

What we have been for ages talking about, explaining, and encouraging, at last is finally showing some signs of actually being put into practice. A new body – the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance (ICSPA) (news, site)  – has been founded in London: an international non-commercial organization that brings together “governments, international business and law enforcement bodies, including Europol”. The aim of the new organization is simple: to tackle nationalistic narrow-mindedness, unite parochial strengths, and fight cyber-crime on a global level – together …

More: Law-abiding Cyber-folk of the World – Unite!. . .