We explore the commercialization of cybercrime.
United States


00:00:00welcome back
00:00:032 years ago an officer at the Dickson County Sheriff's Department open his laptop
00:00:09there's no fan turning lazily in the lobby of Dickson County Sheriff's Department version of bell that dings when you walk through the front door from the outside it looks more like a shopping mall then when you probably picture when I say Dickson County Sheriff's Department what county is a pretty quiet place to buy some history s place kind of wrapped around an interstate place with an Old Mill the sheriff's department alternatively is tall and modern and wrapping class look at the budget for Dickson Tennessee the whole County one thing jumps out of you display spends a lot on their sheriff's department and it shows you feels like a blunt to the Future fixing rather than its present for the fall 2014 somewhere in this building kind of plucked out of time someone fell victim to a trap from the future if your tools still in its infancy and crawling from depths of the internet that paints a picture of where hacking is headed
00:01:01somewhere in the Dickson County Sheriff's Department someone turned on their laptop and on their screen I can't down timer at the gun 72 hours marching down the moment they open the display a timer in the message your files have been encrypted there is no way you will ever see them again without the key if you want the key you have to pay this is ransomware malicious new breed of malware that takes your digital information hostage
00:01:31the rinsing with a breech Dickson County and a half a dozen Other Place apartments across the United States it took him almost 3 million dollars before it was conquered by International Joint Task Force the dismantled piece-by-piece Packers creating new breeds of ransomware everyday it represents a future in which cyber crime is more like a business and almost anyone with the right skills is nodular oh and Dickson County they paid the ransom
00:01:59my name is Jordan Bloomin a Skylander in this is ransomware on this episode
00:02:19nothing better exemplifies the change that's happening in the cybersecurity world than ransomware and to me that's why I find it fascinating you know we've had malware for decades but it was always nuisance malware and it was no people trying to hack in and people wanted access to things they weren't supposed to have access to
00:02:41and now we do it for money ransomware is a commercial transaction and we have moved from hackers in the Underworld causing nuisances and looking for stuff and trying to get at an access to things that they weren't supposed to to hackers generating millions and millions of dollars
00:03:03I feel like in this is probably just from the outside looking in but I have a sense that hacking there's always been an element of like for profit and hacking it's just been more at the upper levels of it where it feels like ransomware the first time someone just gang in this world for the first time can do something that makes them money almost immediately yeah I think that's probably because you saw hacking to the lens of pop culture and it's like I saw a hacking to the lens of hackers and a lot of hackers didn't do things to generate money they didn't make money from hacking it's if you know it wasn't something that he could easily do like you know a hacker who wanted to make money from hacking would have to use any of the tool set that is being able to hack as part of a chain
00:03:52the generated money the other wasn't just some commercial thing you didn't have a bank and just move money you know it that's the kind of quintessential pop culture reference but he know that didn't happen all the time yeah it's almost the difference between like a long con or con artist versus someone is just willing them mug you in the street
00:04:14yeah coming from your background how would you have made money hacking
00:04:20you know I think I think it would have been part of the challenge it would have been part of the excitement it would have been what can I do okay I have the ability to obtain access to people's communication and suck a what Communications are confidential but relevant to Future money maybe it's mergers and Acquisitions information from Wall Street firms if I had access to that stuff then I could trade the market before the news broke and I was part of the clever problem solving it wouldn't hacking and now we just literally have people as you said mugging people in the streets and that's what ransomware is the creativity and the cleverness of it is gone it is just a Brute Force transaction of cashing a really really really why not and say goodbye to me that's best fishing it's about putting this thing out there in the world as many times as you possibly can and seeing who falls victim to it where is what you're talking about his idea of staring down at Target and going after them and you
00:05:20all of that creativity and those skills that a hacker has to facilitate that yeah quality over quantity versus you know quantity over quality if you just send out a phishing scam and demand a Bitcoin Ransom from 70 million people and 7 million people pay it pay your a wealthy wealthy person you know if I know what the interest rate decisions are going to be for the United States Federal Reserve hours before they become public I'm also going to be a very rich person but I didn't injure people to get it I think that's the difference okay so what is Reservoir
00:06:00well ransomware is literally malware that holds your computer or your information Ransom and the the UN that is very flexible baby you know your mother or I could be a hospital or it could be the FBI and pretty much all of those people have paid it at some point where is when you say it holds your data hostage how does it hold data hostage we can think of holding a person hostage in her very literal way but how do you hold data hostage
00:06:33father the thing that they discovered
00:06:36is they can encrypt it and generate a key to decrypt that's unique to just your data and then they essentially hold that decryption key hostage so your date is still in your possession it's just being encrypted but if you want to unencrypt it you need the decryption key from them so it's using a form of key based encryption which we've kind of touched on another episode so this piece of malware infection computer it takes all of your data and encryption in the only way that you can hunt encrypted is if you pay them for that key cracked and usually it's on some demands time like a traditional rancid and you got 96 hours to produce $1,500 or else it's all gone how do you get without getting too specific how do you get a piece of software like this on to a victim computer the most interesting thing that we might be able to look at and Ransom where is the propagation of it you know how is it getting spread
00:07:35and it's getting spread in all kinds of ways from phishing scams over email to probably the most interesting cases or when people figure out ways to inject it into advertising which is called malvertising
00:07:52how do you do that
00:07:55I think it's add Network dependent but some ad networks have had flash vulnerabilities or a bad HTML5 vulnerabilities it will actually set off an attack Vector that ends up with malware being put on your computer so it's yeah it's pretty substantial
00:08:14I don't even know why they got this I don't even want to go down this road but that's that might be the most
00:08:21ethical argument for ad blockers I've heard yet is that their unsecured platforms and people can use them to inject stuff on your computer
00:08:29yeah do you get Debbie you could probably spend a few months researching and put together a pretty strong argument for that
00:08:38that's bananas okay so someone decides that they want to they want to try to do this they want it for ransom we're on the road again without being too specific where do people find these things like this is not a piece of software that I can download off the App Store most of them are kind of custom written by like a lot of the organized crime that's using it now they might have somebody might have written it a long time ago like cryptolocker is a big one does anyone that's flying around right now it's not new but it's it's kind of having a Resurgence right now called Lockey and yeah these were written by people I got crippled Lockers in its I don't remember 56 version maybe like it's been around for a while so yes if they're generally custom red and shared among specific group so right and if they're not customer
00:09:30yeah said RR they're copycats so so they are clones of this original good idea if you want to say it's a good idea but appears to make you know organized crime millions and millions of dollars so I guess it's good as some people okay so do you pay these people
00:09:46well I think the general consensus is yes like I think the FBI pays them I know a sheriff's department in the states paid them which we talked about in the opening hospitals have paid them it's it's really do or die so you think you have to make it personal decision of whether what they have of yours is worth what they want you to pay for it
00:10:13so if it's the operating spreadsheets for your business and it would cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay to get them back or you could just give them $1,500 and I think he conomic utility of that statement speaks for itself
00:10:30it is distinct from it like a classic hostage situation in that they don't have a person that they're responsible for the end of this the dad is on your computer it's just encrypted to this really matter them one way or another whether or not you decide not to pay you're just out your dad and they're still out there in the world I think bad is happened to them there's some organizational structure behind the to where it's like there's call centers for a lot of the big organizations that do this so you're completely removed the person who is in charge of writing the code isn't probably the person who's in charge of having it deployed who isn't the person who's in charge of communicating with the hostages now it's it's you're so far removed from it you're just a call center worker at some point and the alley it's not on you you know you're not the one deciding someone's life like you would be if you were truly holding someone hostage
00:11:25so it's it's got levels of insanity and that are also levels of Brilliance depending on what lens you looking through
00:11:35it's taking taking the skills of hacking in instead of being one phase in a long time to use that term we use earlier it's using them as a resource in starting up a business and I feel like that's what's different about Anna Lisa that's what feels different about it yeah it's it is you know Petty level current crime activity for profit it is organized crime
00:11:59in the 21st century
00:12:03you're not willing to pay is there anything you can do to get this information back or is it just lost of the world depends so some of them aren't using strong enough encryption that people can actually reverse-engineer the encryption some of them and I don't know the exact ones I would need some by name but but some of these different ransomware versions if you have some of your original files and can feed in the encrypted version and the exact same person as an original so maybe from an email or from a backup it can actually figure out the decryption key and then you can decrypt your stuff but most of the modern versions know it's heavy encryption and it's gone I think it's tough because in that moment I would be so angry and I would be so upset even if it is just extra dollars for my data back I'm so angry with these people I don't want to give them money yeah but they got you on the hook because they target
00:13:03file types notably images spreadsheets Word documents so imagine if you you know we're writing a book keeping photo Diaries of all of your family you know Dad's all photos of pretty much gone digital at this point all of your memories you know what are these things worse for you are they backed up to the cloud better question was your Cloud hit with ransomware cuz that's another major problem
00:13:31what exactly happens when your backup gets infected yes so think about something like Google drive or Apple iCloud Drive Dropbox
00:13:44desert Services by keep files local on your computer but then they replicate and sync to a to essentially a virtual hard drive in the sky
00:13:56so if your files become encrypted on the local version and they sink to the virtual hard drive in the sky assuming there isn't Version Control all of the files in the cloud are now the encrypted versions not the original versions so you know a lot of these little services like Dropbox have the ability to look kind of look through some versions hopefully. For major corporations this becomes a huge issue because you got something called hot side back up so like a lot of big companies will have their entire technical infrastructure replicated at a separate server farm so if something happens
00:14:36and the infrastructure immediately swaps over so imagine your building with your server Farm burns down it's kind of okay because the server Farm exist in another place and the data is kept in sink in real time which is why it's called a hot site it's not a cold site where they have to show up and turn the servers on and rebuild the data it's live some major major companies will have this but the issue is is that if one side gets hit with ransomware it'll real time sync to the hot side swap so it's it's you know you're getting this like enterprise-level headache you spent millions of dollars to have the second you know technological infrastructure setup for you but it can be ruined in a heartbeat
00:15:22is that why you're just paying someone to backup a virus that has compromised your system right I think about it something like a fire like a traditional Hazard you know a building burns down
00:15:36and it's a huge incident but can be less destructive to accompany then ransomware can be
00:15:44so that's when the ransom start to get out of control if they get into an infrastructure and encrypt an entire Enterprise databases accounting software every operational document versions logos you name it imagine it all gone everything in public drives and that you drive that you have at work everything is gone
00:16:07distributor setting the software out they sent it out on Mathis to try and get as many people infected as they can do they know when they've gotten that massive Corporation was information is worth millions versus your aunt with a couple of photos it's only willing to pay maybe on a couple a couple hundred bucks for it yeah I think I don't know that ins and outs of the technology enough to know exactly how it does but I assume it's based on volume cuz the first thing it does like if it hits your work computer the first thing it does is it looks not only a what's on your computer or what's on the network that I can reach so it starts to spread to the network
00:16:46so imagine a big company where you got thousands of computers may be accessible over the network or sharing files back and forth and they're literally just sharing The Rance were me no back and forth okay so how do you defend against this either as an individual or as an organization that has its massive network of connected computers
00:17:08stuff that the way like there's no
00:17:13man I don't even know what to say to that there's no level of organization that's really figured out how to avoid it like it hits everybody I know one of the things that's becoming more common is like a sandboxing system said that the second you download any file or any file downloads on your computer at kind of lives inside of a little small a virtual machine on your computer so that you kind of get to run in there and spend sure that it works so won't have access to the any files any other files on the hard drive won't have access to the network it won't have any access to that stuff until it's been proven clean at which at that point I can come out but you know those are expensive and reprisal systems I'm sure there are other things that I'm not super familiar with them if anybody knows any feel free to tweet about us
00:18:01what about for an individual
00:18:04be smart
00:18:06same old same old comes down to being smart but then again to go back to propagation I can't remember exactly who it was but I think it was an FTP client for OSX somebody had hacked their server so that if you downloaded the installer over the course of like 1 week inside of that installer and also installed ransomware like it's you know the more walls you put up the more clever people become and it seems people keep becoming more and more clever so I don't know if the best way to protecting his is just as soon as keep your wits about you and you're just kind of the exact opposite way people of how people actually your extra computer is now because I'm way more trusting even if things get theoretically allow more dangerous I think that's the I think that's the game now the more trusting of the end user becomes
00:18:56the Moorefield they've created for the hackers to play
00:19:04the last episode we mentioned having some potentially what's a good way to get into this last time is going to be mentioned some of the delays and some other things that were going on that we are trying to get going to kind of allow us to do more of this we were very very hush-hush about it but the press release is kind of going out so it seems like we can probably talk about it yeah so we share it has acquired the exclusive rights to adapt the iTunes podcast hacked as a television series created by Tech entrepreneurs and storytellers Scott Francis Winder and Jordyn Blum in the Hat podcast explores the curious and lightning and occasionally criminal underbelly of the internet
00:19:59but the podcast currently attracting tens of thousands of followers for each new installment that work and the hatch creators will expand the scope and scale of the storytelling to bring its Legions of podcast followers that's you guys and even bigger payoff for the deeper dive into the Myriad of mysteries and other compelling stories lurking in the online world or the worst we just read our entire press release that is not the entire breast. That's the first paragraph but anyway so we might make a TV show that's what we're working on doesn't mean we're going to get to make it but it means that some very very nice people want to try and make it so hopefully that was worth the the big old away
00:20:38between the last batch of episodes super ecstatic about it truthfully Jordan I would love to make a TV show and the seams
00:20:47like a great TV show to make but in the meantime we're going to keep trying to make podcast episodes and if you happen to be a person that works at a major television network that wants to buy a TV show then you should buy hours and on that note my name is Jordan blooming a Skylander they should listening to this episode hack

Transcribed by algorithms. Report Errata
Disclaimer: The podcast and artwork embedded on this page are from Sticks & Stones, which is the property of its owner and not affiliated with or endorsed by Listen Notes, Inc.


Thank you for helping to keep the podcast database up to date.