Morning Security Brief: Silk Road Site Busted By FBI, Government Shutdown Security Concerns, White Collar Crime Site Hacked

By Lilly Chapa

► The FBI has shut down a notorious online marketplace for drugs and illegal services and arrested the alleged operator of the Web site, according to the BBC. Agents arrested Ross William Ulbricht, who reportedly ran the Silk Road, Tuesday and charged him with conspiracy to traffic narcotics, computer hacking conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy. The FBI also seized approximately $3.6 million worth of bitcoins, a virtual currency. The clandestine Web site can be accessed through Tor, an anonymous browsing system that requires special software and is often used to hide illegal activities. Ulbricht also allegedly solicited a murder-for-hire of a Silk Road user who had been blackmailing the site’s owner, threatening to release the identities of thousands of the site’s users. Ulbricht will make an initial appearance in front of a San Francisco federal court Friday.

► On the third day of the federal government shutdown, administrators have voiced concern that hackers could seize on security vulnerabilities created by the shutdown to infiltrate U.S. systems, according to the Wall Street Journal. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the intelligence committee, pointed out Tuesday that 72 percent of the civilian intelligence agency workforce has been furloughed. And Steven VanRoekel, chief information officer for the federal government, said this creates opportunities for hackers to strike. VanRoekel said he advised U.S. agencies to declare cybersecurity staff as “essential,” but most federal sites are being run on a skeleton crew. “If I was a wrongdoer looking for an opportunity, I’d contemplate poking at infrastructure when there are fewer people looking at it,” VanRoekel said.




Russian hacker group SSNDOB, which previously stole massive amounts of data from top data broker Web sites including LexisNexis, Dun & Bradstreet, and HireRight/Kroll, has infiltrated and stolen huge amounts of data from the National White Collar Crime Center site. The government-funded nonprofit organization provides training, investigative reports, and research to agencies involved in preventing cybercrime. The hackers infiltrated the Web sites, set up bots that collected customer data, and sold the personal information via its own Web portal. The Russian group stole datasets from the Crime Center's Internet Crime Complaint Center, where those victimized by online crime can report it. Security researcher Brian Krebs, who found the data leak, said the attacks exploited a bug that should have been fixed for quite some time, according to InfoWorld.


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