DarkCyber for July 9, 2019, Now Available

July 9, 2019

DarkCyber for July 9, 2019, is now available at www.arnoldit.com/wordpress and on Vimeo at https://www.vimeo.com. The program is a production of Stephen E Arnold. It is the only weekly video news shows focusing on the Dark Web, cybercrime, and lesser known Internet services.

This week’s story line up includes: Amazon’s drone-centric surveillance technology; Mauritania loses Internet access; cyber criminals stumble at the US Post Office; the US develops THOR to kill drone swarms; and cyber crime for vertical markets grows.

This week’s lead story pivots on Amazon’s patent US 10,313,638 “Image Creation for Geo-Fence Data.” This invention makes it possible for an Amazon drone delivering packages or performing some other function like verifying that a driver dropped off an order to perform other functions. The specific example described in the patent is for Amazon to parse drone footage within a specific area and then extract data about a person or other entity. The idea is to geo-fence a front yard, a back door, or some other location and then extract the image and assign metadata to that extracted object. In short, deliveries plus surveillance. The invention makes us of the Amazon Web Services’ suite of services; for example, cross correlation of drone captured data with facial recognition, purchase history, and financial information.

Other stories in the July 9, 2019, program are:

First, Bromium and the Surrey Crime Research Lab in the UK have published information about a new trend in cyber crime. Instead of Dark Web bad actors just offering generic malware, SCRL reports that specialized software has become more widely available. The “vertical” malware is purpose built to attack retail, health care, and financial institutions. The technology needed to compromise an employee’s mobile device and corporate network access has been fine-tuned to deal with the security procedures in place for banking, finance, and credit card providers. Instead of relying on general purpose exploits, malware like Ramnit is bundled with tools able to penetrate hospitals and retail operations. Bromium provides a summary of some of the SCRL results, and DarkCyber provides information necessary to register to obtain this high value report.

Second, the US government, assisted by three commercial enterprises, has develop a system to kill or disable a swam of drones. The technology makes use of a directed beam which interferes with the electronics of a group of drones. The idea is that a swarm of drones can operated in an autonomous and semi-autonomous manner to compromise US security or perform in an offensive manner; for example, deliver poison, explosives, or surveillance devices. The THOR (Tactical High Power Microwave Responder) can be set up by two people in less than three hours. The beam defense is operated with a hand held controller. The technology can be mounted on a variety of platforms, included land based vehicles.

Third, two individuals based in the US shipped more than 25,000 packages containing controlled substances. The duo collected more than $8 million from the sale of narcotics and fake prescription drugs like Adderall. US investigators broke the case because the team used Stamps.com, an online service for postage. One of the bad actors signed up for the service using his real name and home address. Agents purchased four batches of narcotics and then raided the operation. In that raid, a commercial pill press was seized along with other evidence. When arraigned, the duo pleaded “Not guilty.”

Finally, Mauritania, a northwest African nation with a population of four million lost Internet access. An estimated 800,000 citizens had been unable to send email, use Facebook, and other online services. The government took this step in order to help quell political unrest in that country. Other countries in that region’s Internet shut down zone are Ethiopia and Sudan.

Kenny Toth, July 9, 2019

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