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FBI’s internal instructions for obtaining data from telecom operators published

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The 139-page presentation, dated 2019, was created by the FBI Cellular Analytics Team.

Motherboard journalists managed to get acquainted with documents The FBI, which describes in unusual detail how bureaus and other law enforcement agencies obtain information from telecommunications companies about the location of mobile devices.

Most of the information presented in the documents is already known to the general public, for example, about how law enforcement agencies can obtain data from telecom operators’ subscribers using special court orders. However, the docs also shed light on exactly what information each operator collects and how long certain types of data are retained. Moreover, they provide screenshots of the tools the FBI provides to law enforcement agencies throughout the United States for analyzing data from cellular base stations.

The documents were provided to the publication by Ryan Shapiro, executive director of the non-profit organization Property of the People, who received them upon request for information from open sources. The 139-page presentation, dated 2019, was created by the FBI’s Cellular Analysis Survey Team (CAST).

According to the presentation, CAST is helping the FBI, as well as federal and local law enforcement and judicial authorities, in forensic data on phone calls from base stations. In particular, the team is engaged in obtaining data from telecommunications companies, analyzing data from base stations showing which phones were in a specified location at a specified time, examining testimony of witnesses and verifying the actual coverage of base stations.

“When necessary, CAST uses industry standard equipment to determine the true geographic coverage of the cellular sector,” the presentation said.

CAST provides law enforcement with its own phone data visualization software tool called CASTViz for free.

“CASTViz can quickly and accurately record call data and base station data for lead generation and investigations,” the presentation said.

The presentation even contains screenshots of instructions for using CASTViz.

The document explains how requests for disposable phone location data from virtual carriers (carriers using the existing infrastructure of another carrier, but selling services under their own brand) are made. It also describes how to get information from the General Motors OnStar vehicle system, and presents the cost of some of the data.

In terms of the period during which telecom operators store phone call data, AT&T is 7 years, T-Mobile is 2 years, and Verizon is 1 year. AT&T stores web browsing data for 1 year.

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Security

Hackers hacked the BitMart crypto exchange and stole $ 150 million.

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The company is investigating the incident, and the withdrawal operations are temporarily suspended.

Crypto exchange BitMart reported that it was hacked, as a result of which it lost $ 150 million worth of cryptocurrency.

Exchange founder and CEO Sheldon Xia confirmed the incident and clarified that the vulnerability was related to hot wallets Ethereum (ETH) and Binance Smart Chain (BSC).

“We have identified a large-scale security breach involving one of our hot ETH wallets and one of our hot BSC wallets. At the moment, we are still drawing conclusions about the possible methods used. The hackers managed to withdraw assets worth about $ 150 million, ”Xia wrote on his Twitter account.

On the evening of December 4, PeckShield recorded an abnormal number of withdrawals from BitMart. Among the tokens that were withdrawn from the trading platform were “meme” tokens, including Shiba Inu, as well as the USDC stablecoin.

Recall that earlier hackers stole about $ 120 million in bitcoins and ether from the decentralized financial (DeFi) platform Badger, which allows users to borrow and lend and speculate on fluctuations in cryptocurrency prices.

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Cyberattack Electric Utilities Lost All Data in 25 Years

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All indications are that the company has fallen victim to ransomware.

Colorado’s Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) is painfully recovering from a devastating cyberattack that destroyed all of its data over the past 25 years. An attack last month forced the company to shut down 90% of its internal computer systems.

A new notice sent out by DMEA to its customers this week says the company will begin accepting payments through the SmartHub platform and other payment terminals by December 6th. The company hopes to restore billing on December 6-10, so customers should expect an influx of electricity bills. At the same time, DMEA noted that it will not turn off services for non-payment and will not impose fines until January 31, 2022.

Employees of the company began to notice that something was wrong on November 7, and after a while almost the entire computer network of DMEA was turned off. The attack affected all support systems, payment processing tools, billing platforms and other tools provided to customers. According to the company, the hackers attacked certain segments of the internal network and damaged documents, tables and forms, indicating a ransomware attack.

Telephone systems and e-mail were also affected, but power plants and fiber-optic networks were not affected. The personal data of DMEA customers or employees has not been compromised.

DMEA has hired cybersecurity experts to investigate the incident, but is still struggling to rebuild the network.

“We are currently working with limited functionality and are focused on completing investigations and restoring services as efficiently, cost-effectively and securely as possible. We strive to restore our network and get back to normal operations, but this will take time and requires a phased approach, ”the company said.

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Hundreds of malicious Tor nodes are used to de-anonymize users

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Malicious servers were added to the Tor network on an ongoing basis, and there were hundreds of them.

Since at least 2017, a mysterious attacker (or group), tracked by cybersecurity experts as KAX17, has been adding malicious servers to the Tor network, acting as entry, intermediary, and exit nodes. How thinks a security researcher using the pseudonym Nusenu, the campaign aimed to de-anonymize users.

Nusenu, which itself is the Tor node operator, discovered malicious activity in 2019, but says KAX17 has been in effect since at least 2017. According to Nusenu, malicious servers with no contact information were added to the Tor network on an ongoing basis, with hundreds of them. At its peak, the network included over 900 malicious servers.

In general, servers added to the Tor network must contain contact information (such as an email address) so that Tor administrators or law enforcement agencies can contact node operators in the event of misconfiguration or reports of abuse. Despite this rule, servers without contact information are often added to the network, mainly to maintain their numbers.

KAX17 servers are located in data centers around the world and are mostly configured as exit and intermediary nodes, with only a small number of them operating as exit nodes. As Nusenu notes, this is strange enough, since most attackers who manage malicious nodes configure them as exit nodes, which allows them to modify the traffic. For example, the BTCMITM20 group managed a network of thousands of malicious exit nodes to attack users visiting cryptocurrency-related sites.

According to the researcher, KAX17 collects information about users connecting to the Tor network, and then determines their routes. Nusenu reported its findings to the Tor Project last year, and the servers were removed from the network in October 2020. Soon after, another group of exit nodes appeared in Tor with no contact information, but whether it was associated with KAX17 is unclear.

In October and November 2021, the Tor Project also removed hundreds of KAX17 servers. Neither Nusenu nor the Tor Project have speculated yet on who is behind KAX17.

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