03/02/2012 : CYBERCRIME EXPERT RECALLS ABSOLUTE POKER'S BRUSH WITH TERRORISM
 
Al Qaeda supporter used stolen credit cards to push $3.5 million through online poker site, says security manager
 
The case of the London-based terrorism supporter Tariq Al-Dour was recalled this week at the RSA conference in San Francisco, a gathering of top cybersecurity experts exchanging views on how to track and catch hackers, card thieves, money launderers and other Internet evil-doers.
 
www.Recentpoker.com readers will recall that Al-Dour was nailed some years back for stealing credit cards through Russian-built botnets and then using these to push around $3.5 million through the online poker site Absolute Poker. He then reportedly spent his ill-gotten gains on outdoor gear and satellite telephones which he sent to terrorism groups in the Middle East.
 
One of the key figures in the Al-Dour case, Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure, told the conference that he spent time combing the Internet to find evidence of what extremists, mostly Arab speaking but also Chechens from the Caucasus, are doing in terms of sophisticated use of technology online.
 
The situation today with extremist groups using high-tech hacking and bots "isn't out of hand," Hyponnen opined, but he said there's mounting evidence that extremist groups are increasingly interested in high-tech, writing in slick multimedia online publications about Apache, PGP, NMAP, and creating their own public crypto keys, right alongside basic instructions for bomb making.
 
After his address, Hypponen told reporters that he had changed his original perception that high-tech terrorists don't exist. He revealed that he has found evidence of a growing focus on technology, encryption and hacking in online jihadist publications that now include topics such as an "Open Source Jihad" section to "Technical Mujahaden" explaining how to hide files using rootkits and steganography.
 
And interestingly, he has come across what he believes to be counter-terrorism initiatives by British Intelligence, attempting to "trojanize fake versions of these publications so that if they're downloaded, monitoring of possible terrorist activity could be achieved."
 
Another expert, Joe Stewart of Dell SecureWorks, told delegates that there is evidence of Chinese hackers attempting to break into U.S. enterprises, and jihadist terrorists post videos of sniper killings on the Internet, and steal credit-cards to launder money for funding terrorist activity in the world's hot spots.
 
Stewart told his audience how he managed to track down one Chinese hacker by laboriously collecting information in what he dubbed the "Sin Digoo Affair" after the misspelling of San Diego in Internet domain registrations under the fake name of "Tawnya Grilth".
 
On that and other slender clues he managed to unearth further evidence such as malware signatures as he investigated the attacker in a case of industrial espionage and botnets, amassing enough evidence to turn over to the FBI.
 
Stewart's point was that criminal activity related to bots can be tracked and uncovered.