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31.10.17 Dark Web and Cybercrime Roundup

“No Logs” VPN Provider Shared Logs with FBI

Court documents from a recent cyberstalking case revealed that a VPN service with “unparalleled privacy” had actually maintained logs that identified a subscriber. The affidavit detailed how the suspect had used PureVPN and Tor to obscure internet traffic when spamming or harassing his target. According to an FBI agent, 24-year-old Ryan Lin had successfully used this tactic for months and eventually left local police in the dark. The FBI then investigated, subpoenaed the VPN service, and built a case with information from the service’s logs.

Lin stalked his former housemates for at least one year before his arrest. He physically gathered account passwords from diaries and local computers. After he had obtained credentials for email accounts and file storage sites, Lin accessed the compromised accounts through VPNs and Tor. Ultimately, the VPN logs provided authorities with proof that Lin had accessed stolen accounts at times that coincided with access logs from the accounts themselves.

Few people likely found this evidence surprising. Although PureVPN’s website proudly advertises that the company does not collect any identifying logs on users, the company’s the privacy policy states the complete opposite. DeepDotWeb

New JavaScript Monero Miner Released as More Sites Begin to Mine Coins

Crypto-Loot, a JavaScript Monero miner, recently launched as a potential rival to the infamous Coinhive miner. Both miners operate almost identically; the JavaScript runs in the background on a website and mines Monero with the visitor’s CPU. Coinhive, one of the most well-known miners, rose to notoriety after The Pirate Bay users found the code imbedded in numerous pages on the site.

Coinhive collects 30% of the Monero mined with their miner—more than double Crypto-Loot’s 12% fee. Crypto-Loot’s minimum XMR per free withdrawal is noticeably different at 0.3 XMR (versus Coinhive’s 0.5 XMR). Coinhive allows users to withdraw less than 0.5 XMR, but adds a small fee. Shortly after Coinhive launched, some antivirus programs marked the script as a virus. The most significant complaints involved web admins allowing Coinhive’s script to run and start automatically. Coinhive then added an “opt in” service where the miner (or unsuspecting site visitor) can choose to enable or disable the JS.

The new miner by Crypto-Loot has some important differences from Coinhive’s miner. One difference is that Crypto-Loot only charges a 12% fee, unlike Coinhive which charges a 30% fee. Another difference between the miners is the minimum amount of Monero that can be withdrawn. Crypto-Loot allows sites to withdraw Monero once they have mined at least 0.3 XMR, but adds a small fee. DeepDotWeb

Birmingham Man Guilty of 137 Online Sexual Exploitation Charges

A press announcement from the UK’s NCA revealed that a post-doctoral researcher committed more than 130 counts of various sex abuse. His charges came from sexually motivated acts, such as: sexual abuse of varying degrees, distribution and possession of child “pornography” through darknet forums, and encouraging forum members to rape a child and upload video footage to the site.

The 28-year-old Cambridge University graduate admitted to targeting more than 50 unsuspecting people on the internet. He often posed as a female artist and manipulated his victims to send compromising photographs of themselves. He then blackmailed the victims—usually teenagers—into sending more pictures and videos. The defendant, Dr. Matthew Falder, admitted to blackmailing the teens into recording themselves committing increasingly humiliating tasks. He uploaded the pictures and videos to “hurt core” forums.

Falder pleaded guilty to 137 charges. DeepDotWeb

Mozilla to Match Donations Made to the Tor Project

The Tor Project launched “Powering Digital Resistance,” a crowdfunding campaign aimed at attracting more users, enabling personal privacy, and helping keep the Tor network stable. The partnership with Mozilla allows both the Tor Browser Bundle and Firefox to mutually benefit from developments made by either party. The blog post pointed out that Firefox had recently implemented TBB’s anti-fingerprinting patches. And Mozilla engineers, the announcement said, helped Tor developers learn to use Rust.

Now, as part of the campaign, Mozilla will match donations made to the Tor Project (up to $500,000). The campaign will run through the end of the year. Tor Project blog

Founder and Owner of Pharmaceutical Company Arrested and Charged with Racketeering

An indictment unsealed on October 26 accused the founder and owner of Insys Therapeutics Inc. of participating in a “conspiracy to profit by using bribes and fraud to cause the illegal distribution of a Fentanyl spray.” The United States charged the defendant, John N. Kapoor, under the RICO act for RICO conspiracy, mail fraud, bribery, and kickback violations. Kapoor’s indictment supersedes an indictment from 2016 that accused several former Insys employees of participation in the conspiracy.

DeepDotWeb covered Insys Therapeutics Inc. following two controversial events: in Arizona, the company donated $500,000 towards defeating a marijuana legalisation ballot and then when the DEA added Insys’s own THC spray to Schedule II.

Kapoor and his co-conspirators “conspired to bribe practitioners in various states, many of whom operated pain clinics, in order to get them to prescribe a fentanyl-based pain medication,” the DoJ’s announcement revealed. Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb announced that the conspirators would be held accountable—just like the cartel and street dealers—for their role in the so-called “opioid crisis.” USAO – Massachusetts

Xanax Dealer Sold to “Vulnerable Young Women,” Judge Revealed

After a Royal Mail employee intercepted a package package of 500 Xanax, law enforcement opened an investigation into the 34-year-old recipient. The suspect, an alleged drug dealer accused of crimes dating back to 2007, allegedly sold Xanax to “vulnerable young women,” a judge said. Police raided the suspect’s house and found electronic devices still connected to the man’s Facebook account. The messages between the dealer and his (mostly female) customers provided evidence that fit the drug dealing narrative and insight into his “romantic or sexual” relationship with his customers.

The court did not explain the relevance of his personal relationships with his customers. According to one police officer’s statement, the suspect—who had frequently used Facebook to advertise drugs—owned a tablet “[that indicated] the suspect had an extensive knowledge of the Dark Web, computer programs and technology.” One reader asked if the police had an “extensive knowledge meter.” DeepDotWeb

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