How hackers make money.
February 12, 2007 4:55 PM   Subscribe

How the underground hacker economy works. Black hat hackers and other scammers make money through methods ranging from pumping penny stocks to re-shipping rings. Meet the four most wanted cybercriminals.
posted by blahblahblah (13 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Featuring quotes and a picture of MeFi's own Dan Kaminsky.
posted by mock at 5:28 PM on February 12, 2007

Very interesting and scary stuff.

I used to add the spam stocks to my Yahoo ticker to watch them climb for a day or two and then crater in. And then I got more and more and more of them and it wasn't any fun anymore.
posted by fenriq at 5:32 PM on February 12, 2007

posted by breezeway at 5:38 PM on February 12, 2007

This is also a neat scam in wide use in Europe, relying on a bunch of work originally done by Trifinite.

As well, Thorsten Holz has done a lot of research in this area, especially with tracking stock spam. His blog is good reading material if you're interested in this topic. In fact any of the honeynet people are good for further reading.
posted by mock at 5:39 PM on February 12, 2007

I used to add the spam stocks to my Yahoo ticker to watch them climb for a day or two and then crater in.

I did something similar with the amount of money various Nigerian Spammers were offering me. It was funny until I passed the GDP of Africa ten times over.
posted by eriko at 6:19 PM on February 12, 2007

I had no idea how those reshipment mule things worked until now. I remember being an idiot teenager and working at a retail shop, thinking how easy I could copy CC numbers if I wanted to, but I could never work out where stuff would be shipped, since you could easily trace the perp back to the address.

I can't believe people open themselves up to such crimes over a couple hundred bucks here and there in silly classified ads. The mules in that USA Today story are being set up for major jail time over major crimes and they don't even know it.
posted by mathowie at 6:29 PM on February 12, 2007

thinking how easy I could copy CC numbers if I wanted to

One of my favorite Dilbert comics is one where he's railing about how he'd never give out his CC number online, and then he hands his card to a waitress in a restaurant who brings it back to him wearing a fur coat.

since you could easily trace the perp back to the address.

I was an identity theft bitch a few years back. I noticed it because Victoria's Secret sent me an order confirmation postcard where I'd apparently sent a couple hundred bucks worth of panties to Kazakhstan.

I got all the money back, but it took about three months. Oh, and the same fuckers signed me up for a German midget porn site. Those were the only two charges on the card. Cheap, frilly underwear and German midgets. The possible confluence of both things, well, it would surprise me if I'd never seen German porn before.

Good times.
posted by Cyrano at 7:00 PM on February 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

Just last Saturday I received a pyramid scheme letter via snail mail. It made me misty-eyed for the good old days.
posted by peeedro at 7:57 PM on February 12, 2007

I saw a new ad-trick MLM-scam today. It was an AdSense ad in my Gmail today that read something like "Tour the Red Planet in Style! Comfortable, modern zero G cruise ships. Experience Mars in luxury!"

Naturally, I clicked it. "Tour Mars!? What the fuck?"

Naturally, it redirected to some newfanlged mega-MLM, free-paid survey clusterfuck. If I wasn't using Firefox, AdBlock, NoScript, etc. I probably would have been hit with an IE driveby exploit, a zillion popups and goodness knows what else. Flagged as noise.
posted by loquacious at 11:11 PM on February 12, 2007

From the mule article: "I thought I could work a few hours a day and make a couple hundred bucks" didn't think there was going to be anything shady going on there??
posted by inigo2 at 7:00 AM on February 13, 2007

"What Karl had become, in fact, was a "mule.""tool.""
posted by OmieWise at 8:47 AM on February 13, 2007

I was trying to figure out what was the driving force behind the first article & then I remembered: RSA was last week. Now it makes sense.
posted by scalefree at 11:11 AM on February 13, 2007


Actually, we're in the middle of some pretty interesting changes. Spam has become a major issue, with its ability to drive the stock market strongly established. (Al Gore's "the stock market is functionally insane" reflects nicely.) The entire industry is aligned to solve a problem (worms) that doesn't really look at all like the threats we need to face.

And law enforcement is just not really set up to deal with these issues. They're trying -- hard -- but it's a structural problem, one that strikes to the core of how we're set up as a world society.

But the Internet keeps going on, because it must...

(BTW, thanks Mock :) )

posted by effugas at 8:18 PM on February 13, 2007

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