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The opsec blunders that landed a Russian politician's fraudster son in the clink for 27 years

Joke

ID10T

He cleared 17 Million, and yet he is enough of an idiot to reuse critical passwords, and not encrypt his laptop.

Damn, I need to get into this cyber crime thing.

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Re: ID10T

Most criminals at best only partially plan their crimes. The local flatfeet generally know who is doing what and spend a good bit of time trying to get angle on the perps to get a conviction. So besides stupidity the perps are vulnerable to someone blabbing (many perps cannot keep their mouths shut) or the fact that living creates a trial that might trip them up.

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Re: ID10T

Exactly why the Chicken Ranch in LaGrange, Texas was allowed to stay open for so long. The real Sheriff knew if someone robbed a bank, the first place they'd go was to the Chicken Ranch for some tail, and he depended on the girls to keep him informed.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ID10T

Someone I knew was frequently going on about a unsolved crime & stated frequently that whoever did it should keep a very low profile from that day forth (or if you were going to commit any crime do it once, make it big & do it once only) as his "Golden Rule".

Unfortunately for him he met the victims husband & talked of his association (breaking his previously stated Golden Rule) as sales rep to the victims husband's former business & how he was questioned by police at the time.

Five weeks (& some eight years later from the first offense) later he was involved with a criminal offense, involving the son of his ex-employer that he used to work for as a sales rep.

The victims husband (Who was previously quoted as saying, that he always felt that he could one day be drinking with his wife's killer & would never know it) saw his picture & basic details of the new crime on the front page of the local paper, putting Two + Two contacted the police, who also came up with the answer of Four.

Yes hes still inside apart from one brief holiday after escaping from Parkhurst in the 90's (Google that if disinclined to believe).

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Holmes

Re: ID10T

There's a confirmation bias at work her, the criminals you hear about are usually the ones who got caught.

The ones who don't get caught are more competent.

Or to put it another way, you only hear about the ones who are stupid enough to get caught.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ID10T

A friend who's a police detective reckons that criminals are invariably stupid, lazy or both. Which stands to reason I guess, since if they were smart and conscientious types they'd be making decent money for a lot less risk in a proper job. Though I did wonder "is that really all criminals, or just the ones you catch..."

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Joke

Re: ID10T

"you only hear about the ones who are stupid enough to get caught."

Wrong.

Hugs and kisses,

D. B. Cooper

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Re: ID10T

The most successful fraudsters have victims gladly throwing money at them, and refuse to believe they're being scammed.

Take a look at the darker history of many of the USA's more high-profile evangalists.

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Re: ID10T

"Most criminals at best only partially plan their crimes. "

Most businessmen only partially plan their business too. the difference is that they don't have to worry about leaving an audit trail because they're not doing things that might land them in clink.

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Thumb Up

Great explanation

Excellent journalism, thank you!

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Re: Great explanation

Agreed.

It's been a while since I read The Cuckoo's Egg. It's about time I dug it out again...

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JLV
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Black Helicopters

>meeting with the Russian Federal Security Service... Less than a month later, all activity by nCux stopped dead

Coincidence? Or see title of article?

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Well, what do you think? The FSB is an honest, law-abiding Russian equivalent of the FBI? Or a relic of the 1970's worst excesses of the KGB, as epitomised by one Colonel V Putin, of the Leningrad 1st Directorate?

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Holmes

Well, what do you think?

"Oh no it's that misbegotten son of you-know-who. Can you drop a hint to persons upstairs that he should stop this bullshit, maybe?"

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> law-abiding Russian equivalent of the FBI

The FBI ... law-abiding?

Say, I have a nice bridge, you may be interested...

All power centers work the same.

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Unhappy

For some $17m would have been enough.

But then if you're in a hotel suite at $20k a week it won't last long.

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Re: For some $17m would have been enough.

@John Smith 19. That's debatable. My shite maths tell me you could stay in the hotel for over 16 years with $17 million.

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Re: For some $17m would have been enough.

But someone who thinks it's good to pay that much for a hotel stay is unlikely to stop at only spending money on hotels. Look at the lottery winners who manage to blow £10m in two years.

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FAIL

Dunning-Kruger Again

I was only saying the other day how white collar crime shitheads like Ross Ulbricht and Alexandre Cazes weren't half as smart as they thought they were. Looks like we can add Roman Seleznev to the list too...

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Black Helicopters

Ah nuuu Cheeki Breeki!

I'm still working on my first USD 17m. When I arrive, I will need USD 25m for the same purchasing power.

But the following month (i.e. April 2011) the Feds – and Seleznev – suffered a serious setback. The Russian was seriously injured in a terrorist attack while holidaying in Morocco, and spent several months in a coma.

Weird coincidence, that. Who is controlling Moroccoan terrorists?

Gov Uk says:

Attacks could be indiscriminate and could target foreigners. In April 2011, 17 people were killed and 25 injured in a large explosion caused by a bomb in Marrakech at the Argana Restaurant in Djema el-Fna Square.

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Re: Ah nuuu Cheeki Breeki!

What should be of more interest is that someone was apparently controlling the website whilst young Roman was in a coma.

There's more to this case than the feds are letting on.

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An excellent story on why NOT to use the internet for critical, confidential, proprietary or financial data.

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Anonymous Coward

wow

what an Ochtoko...

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Re: wow

Ochtoko is not an anus in russian. It is completely made up.

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x 7
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imprisoned on Guam?

Is that because the extradition to the USA could be deemed illegal, so he's been put in a USA territory outside the regular legal system?

A sort of overt rendition.

The guys a **** and deserves the sentence, but the yanks need to find a more legit way to do it.

Makes you wonder how many others are held on Guam - is it another Gitmo?

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Facepalm

Overt Rendition??

@x 7: "Is that because the extradition to the USA could be deemed illegal, so he's been put in a USA territory outside the regular legal system?"

Take off your tinfoil hat - Guam is a US territory, and isn't "outside the regular legal system". It would have been the closest US soil to the Maldives, so it makes sense that he would have been held on remand there while charges were prepared.

An extradition treaty isn't necessary; two countries can still agree to hand over a person without one.

Fuck him, I hope he enjoys his 27 years in federal prison. These weren't victimless crimes - he ruined the lives of a lot of small business owners.

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3673513/Seleznev-US-Atty-Sentencing-Memo.pdf

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imprisoned on Guam?

Is that because the extradition to the USA could be deemed illegal, so he's been put in a USA territory outside the regular legal system?

Guam is American territory. It has been American territory since the Spanish-American War of 1898. (The Spanish governor of Guam discovered that Spain was at war with the US when he woke up one morning to see lots of American ships in the harbor.) There was a brief interlude when Japan occupied the island, but other than that it's been American ever since. The biggest air base in the Pacific outside of Clarke AFB in the Philippines is Andersen AFB on Guam. During the Vietnam war it was a major base for B-52s and the like. Whenever things warm up in the western Pacific, Andersen gets dusted off and a few B-52s, B-1s, and B-2s plus KC-135s, KC-10s, and assorted fighters move in. The last I heard, a half-dozen B-2s from the 509th Bomb Wing were parked at Guam the better to irritate Little Kim in North Korea. (The 509th flies B-2s, and is the only unit in the world which has actual combat experience dropping nukes; as the 509th Bomb Group they were the boys who nuked Japan. The USAF sends the 509th out when they want to make an impression.)

Guam is American territory. Sorry to banish the tin-foil hat, but there it is.

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"The Spanish governor of Guam discovered that Spain was at war with the US when he woke up one morning to see lots of American ships in the harbor."

Similarly the newly independent Philippines discovered Spain was at war with the US the same way - and that they were no longer independent. (This is where the americans perfected waterboarding as a torture treatment about 1902 and first discovered that fighting an insurgency can take several decades)

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x 7
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"Guam is American territory. Sorry to banish the tin-foil hat, but there it is."

But its not part of a USA state or any other organised territory, so normal rules of law don't apply.

The federal authorities can do what they like with him with little chance of oversight

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WTF?

@x 7:"But its not part of a USA state or any other organised territory, so normal rules of law don't apply.

The federal authorities can do what they like with him with little chance of oversight"

Guam is US territory, whether you want to believe it or not.

Citation please, I hear you say?

https://www.britannica.com/place/Guam

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gq.html

http://guam-online.com/

https://www.usa.gov/state-government/guam

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"I was talking illegally while driving at the time but we got into action immediately."
Am I the only one who's noticed, this "assistant US attorney" has just confessed to a crime? Who's investigating that?

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I wonder whether the court will hear the defendant stating "Stealing 17 million US Dollars was illegal, I know, but I had to act quickly!".

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Talking while driving is a moving violation

Like speeding or running a stop sign you have to be caught doing it. If I admit driving 110 mph last night the cops can't show up and give me a ticket, but they could stake out my garage and follow me around to see if I do it again tonight.

Some states still don't even have talking/texting while driving as a primary violation, meaning cops can't pull you over even if they see you doing it, unless you are doing something else illegal that gives them a reason to pull you over.

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Re: Talking while driving is a moving violation

"I admit driving 110 mph last night the cops can't show up and give me a ticket,"

However if they seize your phone and find it was recording your travels & confirmed the speed, or if you were stupid enough to film it, they can.

It's happened a few times.

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Facepalm

Opsec blunders and the hybrid laptop

Opsec blunders, you have got to be kidding. If this is the quality of today's cyber criminals then one has to wonder what they're teaching them in computer criminal school lately. Now pay attention whilst we enumerate his major errors:

a. Register domains with same Yahoo email accounts used to order flowers for own wife.

b. Purchase Server using same Yahoo email address.

c. Use same Server to control malware running on POS sales terminals of the Schlotzskys Deli chain.

d. Leave personal information on same Server such as passport details.

e. Run an online criminal enterprise using a 'Windows 8 hybrid laptop'.

f. Use same password on the 'Windows 8 hybrid laptop' as the Yahoo email account.

"In two years, the Feds say Seleznev cleared over $17m in illicit profits and many of the businesses he hit have since gone out of business"

I would have thought online Credit Card losses were covered by the issuer. Besides stealing/selling Ccards is just so much low-hanging-fruit. The real money is to be made by targeting middling to large businesses, non-profits and NGOs. You don't even need any opsec skills, most probably no one will come after you as they also have their hand in the till also. Like certain NGO that consists of nothing but a plaque on an office wall in middle Africa.

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Re: Opsec blunders and the hybrid laptop

I presume the damage is because people tend to stop shopping at places that are apparently leaking CC details to criminals.

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Re: Opsec blunders and the hybrid laptop

"I would have thought online Credit Card losses were covered by the issuer. "

It is. Limit of liability for false charges on most credit cards in the US is $50.

However, the merchant's agreement with the card company generally also requires them to keep card data secured, with automatic penalties for failure to do so. I've seen agreements with penalties as high as $50k per stolen card number. That'll bankrupt a small business pretty quickly.

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Re: Opsec blunders and the hybrid laptop

"I would have thought online Credit Card losses were covered by the issuer. "

They push that back to the seller - with penalties.

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Prisons are full of stupid criminals...

It's the ones the smart ones that are never caught you should worry about!

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Joke

Hybrid laptop?

When it switches to the IC engine it must be a serious pain in the ass.

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True, but you can rev it when you're hanging out at a Starbuck's.

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Guam - because he will later be released to the Russians to prevent the release of videos showing an orange bloke and a young girl.

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Nah. Not needed. The Mango Mussolini has video of the Shirtless One and his pony.

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