Home Podcasts Videos Guest Posts Q&A My Take Bio Contact
 

Book Excerpts

 

VIDEO: Can Shape Security revolutionize Web defense?

By Byron V. Acohido

Shape Security. Remember that name. The Silicon Valley start-up emerged from stealth mode this morning to publicly unveil details of its plan to revolutionize cybersecurity.

If Shape can deliver, its technology could radically disrupt the engine that drives cybercrime: botnets.

Related video: Shape Security creates first “botwall’

A botnet is a sprawling network of thousands of infected PCs or Web servers, referred to as bots. The top dozen or so cybercriminal rings command massive botnets honed to automate and scale up the delivery of spam scams, the carrying out of denial-of-service attacks, the booby-trapping of legit websites and the hijacking of online financial accounts.

Botnets can’t be stopped largely because the bad guys have mastered a technique, called polymorphism, by which they continually …more

The Internet’s 40th anniversary timeline of milestones

The Associated Press and Symantec have each compiled timelines to mark the 40th anniversary of the creation of the Internet. The compilation below begins with LastWatchdog’s description of the current threat landscape. Combined and supplementing the timelines reveal how a military grade experiment, designed with an open architecture that preserves s anonymity, evolved into a global force, embraced with equal fervor by corporations, braggarts and criminals.

Summer of 2009: Bad URLs swamp the Internet. Through the first half of 2009, IBM’s X-Force team tracks a 508% leap in the number of new malicious Web links versus the first half of 2008. Most bad links function as relays to other Web pages …more

Hacking for bragging rights gives way to hacking for ill-gotten profits

Book Excerpt
Chapter 1-Built For Speed
Pages 14- 21
Zero Day Threat: The Shocking Truth of How Banks and Credit Bureaus Help Cyber Crooks Steal Your Money and Identity

ISBN- 13: 978-1-4027-5695-5

White Hats, Black Hats, Gray Hats

Mafiaboy

The year is 1999-the close of the twentieth century. “Livin’ la Vida Loca,” Harry Potter, and The Blair Witch Project dominate pop culture. John F. Kennedy, Jr., piloting a small plane to a Martha’s Vineyard wedding, crashes; his wife, her sister, and he die in the tragic accident. Major news organizations hype what turns out to be an inert Y2K threat. Antitrust regulators bear down on Microsoft for using illegal monopolistic practices, while tech darlings …more

Seeking to impress his girlfriend, Samy worm creator introduces huge new attack surface

Book Excerpt
Chapter 15
Pages 189-196
Zero Day Threat: The Shocking Truth of How Banks and Credit Bureaus Help Cyber Crooks Steal Your Money and Identity

ISBN- 13: 978-1-4027-5695-5

Expediters
Silly Samy

In another sort of counterintuitive development, a vast new sector opened up where cybercriminals could roam, but it did not derive from the work of a brilliant, handsomely paid mercenary programmer. It blossomed thanks to a popularity-starved script kiddie from Los Angeles, nicknamed Samy, who at age nineteen had too much free time on his hands.

Samy was one of the 32 million denizens-including a good many teenagers and adolescents-who populated the MySpace social networking site. MySpace used a hot new technology called AJAX, which stands …more

How hacker wannabes become profit-driven cyberthieves

Book Excerpt
Chapter 4
Pages 46- 49
Zero Day Threat: The Shocking Truth of How Banks and Credit Bureaus Help Cyber Crooks Steal Your Money and Identity

ISBN- 13: 978-1-4027-5695-5

Self-anointed Avenger
Exploiters
Fall 2003, Edmonton

Socrates at the Beverly Motel, Edmonton

The oldest of three children in a stable, churchgoing family, Socrates recalls getting hooked on computers as a young kid. Introverted, soft-spoken, and respectful of his parents, Socrates taught himself about all things digital. He became savvy enough around computers to land a job as a technical engineering draftsman not long after graduating from high school. He earned enough to get himself an apartment and buy a state-of-the-art desktop …more

Criminal hacking at the grass roots level

Book Excerpt – The cost of doing business
Chapter 8
Pages 95-98
Zero Day Threat: The Shocking Truth of How Banks and Credit Bureaus Help Cyber Crooks Steal Your Money and Identity

ISBN- 13: 978-1-4027-5695-5

March 2005, Edmonton

In the year and a half Yolanda and Jacques were a couple, they had lived in three different places. The apartment they currently occupied, a two-bedroom, third-floor walk-up in the middle-class Mill Woods neighborhood south of the city, was by far the nicest.

Yolanda, twenty-three, was a functioning addict. Her drug of choice: crystal meth. Yolanda held down a decent job as a clerk for a courier company and earned enough to afford a car-she drove a white 1995 …more

Microsoft pays $250,000 bounty to catch Netsky/Sasser author

Book Excerpt
Chapter 4
Pages 52- 59

Zero Day Threat: The Shocking Truth of How Banks and Credit Bureaus Help Cyber Crooks Steal Your Money and Identity 2008 by Byron Acohido and Jon Swartz, Union Square Press, Sterling Publishing Co. ISBN- 13: 978-1-4027-5695-5

Virus Wars

Subject: Hi

So began the Virus Wars of 2004. It would pit the new breed of for-profit virus writers against an idealistic German teenager. Collateral damage would reverberate around the globe: tens of millions of PCs compromised; hospitals, banks, and transportation systems briefly knocked out. The world would never be the same. After 2004, hacking would become almost exclusively a for-profit criminal exercise, and the Internet-the emergent information superhighway-would become a thoroughfare of thieves.
It would start with an innocuous-looking sliver of …more