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Credit report breach has link to Zeus banking malware
From: Erica Absetz <eabsetz () opensecurityfoundation org>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 10:30:25 -0400
IDG News Service - A website that leaked credit reports of celebrities
and government officials last week appears to have a curious link to
the malicious banking software known as "Zeus."
Scot A. Terban, an independent information security analyst known by
his blogging pseudonym Krypt3ia, used a software tool called Maltego
to research "Exposed.su," which caused a stir last week by posting
personal information and credit reports for Federal Bureau of
Investigation Director Robert Mueller and singer Beyonce, among
others. The FBI and U.S. Secret Service are investigating.
[ BACKGROUND: DNS reveals the top cyberthreats of 2012. And you
guessed it ... no one is safe. ]
Exposed.su is no longer online. But by using Maltego, which is an
advanced tool for tracking down digital information scattered about
the internet, Terban put together an interesting snapshot of who may
be behind it.
The domain registration for Exposed.su listed an email address
"exposed.su () allperson su " Terban researched the "allperson.su"
domain, looking at email addresses and other domains affiliated with
He found "a pattern of behavior showing that most of these email
addresses were for scam sites, free MP3 or video sites," according to
a writeup on his blog.
One of the most interesting finds is a related email address:
demand.su () allperson ru That email address is listed in a civil suit
filed by Microsoft in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of
New York in March 2012.
The lawsuit lists as plaintiffs 39 unnamed defendants who are accused
of running the Zeus botnet, a long-running scheme believed to have
stolen up to US$100 million from online bank accounts over at least
five years. Microsoft later named two defendants already in prison in
The particular email address was affiliated with a domain, now
offline, that was one of thousands Microsoft alleged were used as part
of the Zeus botnet.
Information in whois, a global address book of website owners, showed
that allperson.su was registered by "Andrej V. Punegov" in 2007.
Information in the whois, however, is notoriously inaccurate and
contains false information.
Nonetheless, Terban's work shows that a bit of research can show
surprising information. Cybercriminals are known at times to make
mistakes in covering their digital tracks.
Terban said in an interview on Monday that the data breach appeared to
have the tone of a bunch of teenage hackers. "It seems like somebody
just tried to show off, maybe with a bit of an axe to grind against
certain people," Terban said.
Even after the data breach had generated significant media coverage,
the website continued to add data on more celebrities. But Terban
noted the links to government officials became inoperable, even though
the links to celebrity data still worked, indicating some sort of
intervention was occurring before it fell offline.
For some time, Exposed.su used CloudFlare, a company that provides a
service that speeds delivery of web pages by using a network of
worldwide data centers to deliver a website's content.
The company offers a free service, which appears to be attractive to
legitimate websites and more nefarious ones. CloudFlare, which would
not comment on Exposed.su, will disconnect a site if it violates its
terms of service.
The source of some of the credit reports was "Annualcreditreport.com,"
a site setup by TransUnion, Experian and Equifax, the three main U.S.
credit-rating agencies. Hackers obtained the reports by correctly
guessing security questions, such as the cost of a person's mortgage
A credit report released on Exposed.su for celebrity Paris Hilton
listed the source as Freecreditreport.com, which is administered by
The Freecreditreport.com website was rejecting visitors from outside
the U.S. on Monday. A customer service representative confirmed people
from outside the U.S. are blocked from accessing the site. It was
unclear if the site's configuration is related to the latest data
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- Credit report breach has link to Zeus banking malware Erica Absetz (Mar 19)