brian-krebs

Remember the security breach at Target where more than 40 million credit card numbers were hacked? It was Brian Krebs who broke the story. He’s a cybercrime and security reporter. 

In order to do his work, Krebs has learned computer code, the Russian language and how to get onto black market websites and cybercrime networks. And cyber criminals who don’t appreciate his work have found creative and frightening ways to harass him, including calling in a fake hostage situation:

“In March of last year, a heavily armed police force showed up at my home à propos of nothing. They call it "swatting.” Somebody had called in a fake hostage situation at my home. They said Russians had broken into my home and shot my wife and that I was hiding in the closet, send guns and forces to get these guys out of my house.

They showed up… [The swat team] had me put my hands up… walk down my front stoop backwards. [They] handcuffed me and put me in the squad car and this is happening at about five, quarter-to-six in the evening on a week day so all the people trying to come home from work, the police had barricaded the entrance to our neighborhood. People are staring out their windows. It was quite a scene.“

Photo - Daniel Rosenbaum for The New York Times

Mr. Krebs — a former reporter at The Washington Post who taught himself to read Russian while jogging on his treadmill and who blogs with a 12-gauge shotgun by his side — is so entrenched in the digital underground that he is on a first-name basis with some of Russia’s major cybercriminals. Many call him regularly, leak him documents about their rivals, and try to bribe and threaten him to keep their names and dealings off his blog.
—  Brian Krebs, security journalist and all-around interesting character, gets his New York Times profile. You might know him from such work as the Target breach and the Adobe breach.
Cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs on ransomware and the most dangerous kind of spam:

“The most dangerous spam is going to be an attachment, a malicious, booby-trapped attachment. It’s going to be something that basically takes over computer, steals your passwords, and if you’re really unlucky, it will hold your computer for ransom and so this is probably the most diabolical and fastest growing spam out there, it’s called ransomware.

Essentially what ransomware does is it gets on your system and it sits there very quietly and goes through all of your documents, your mp3 files, your pictures, everything that you might actually value on that system and it encrypts it with a very, very strong encryption [that] probably not even the NSA could break.

Once it’s done with that process, it pops up a little note that says, "Hey, sorry for the interruption, your friendly neighborhood cybercriminal here, just want to let you know that we’ve gone ahead and encrypted all of your files and if you want them back you have to pay us $700 (or $300 or whatever the arbitrary amount is). And, oh by the way, you have 72 hours.” And this little countdown clock starts.

The frustrating part about this is many people don’t take this seriously. The first thing they do is try to remove the threat. And this type of malware is actually not difficult at all to remove, but your files are still encrypted. By the way, if you remove it, you remove the actual file that you need to actually get your files back. If you want to get your files back you have to pay a ransom, but you can’t just pull out a credit card and pay it, for obvious reasons, so you have to pay with a virtual currency like bitcoin.“

Read (or listen) on: 

How A Feud Between Two Russian Companies Fueled A ‘Spam Nation’

I was tagged by @fail-boat

Last movie you watched?
 In the theater? Spectre.

Last song you listened to? My phone tells me “Open Your Eyes” by Alter Bridge.

Last show you watched? I don’t watch much TV on my own. Hubby always has it on in the background. The last TV show I paid any attention to was “I Love Lucy” this morning before work.

Last book you read?
 Either “Spam Nation” by Brian Krebs (my infosec guru) or “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain.

Last thing you ate?
 A frozen chicken burrito (cooked obviously).

If you could be anywhere else right now, where would it be? I’m on my couch under a down blanket, on my laptop, with my kitties and hubby nearby. I don’t know that there’s anywhere else I’d rather be! (Maybe in the new house instead of the old one.)

If you could pick a decade to travel back in time to, what would it be? I always said I was born in the wrong century. Sometime before the industrial revolution. No electricity, no running water.

If you won the lottery and had millions in cash, what would be the first thing you would do? Get Petra her ureter bypass surgery and kidney stem cell treatment! Maybe start a no-kill cat shelter?

Which fictional character would you like to hang out with for the day? Gosh, I don’t really know!

tagging (don’t feel obligated!): @mamagpie, @fatbottompurls, @thesoundofonebrainthinking, @pardalote, @cheshiremouse and anyone else who wants to!