9:30 ET, 12 December 2013

Intelligence experts at IntelCrawler discovered a Russian-speaking group offers bulletproof hosting in Syria, Lebanon … Countries that represent the new heaven for cybercriminals

 

IntelCrawler: «Near East – new heaven for bulletproof hosting providers, first effects of war on cyberspace in action»

Los-Angeles CA– The US based cyber and risk intelligence provider IntelCrawler has announced the information about the appearance of new bulletproof hosting data centers based on Near East countries, such as Lebanon and Syria. The data center in Lebanon was built around two years ago meanwhile the one located in Syria was set up during the recent tumultuous time for the country.

According to trusted intelligence sources of the company, new bulletproof hosting called “Web Host” has organized own technical center for hosting illegal content and malicious software. The owners of new bad actors hosting choose an actual banner with a Beirut flag on it to be different from others, where they put also words about that they have own datacenter there.

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The intelligence experts at IntelCrawler discovered that a Russian-speaking group is advertising the bulletproof hosting, the advertisement was found on a members-only forum called “Korovka.name,”.

 

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 “The first datacenter appeared near 2 years ago and located in Lebanon. The new data center was built in Syria, right after the war, which made it a unique place for cybercrime business.”   commented Dan Clements, IntelCrawler’s President.

On the other side the owners of “WebHost” explained:

 “We have own support in datacenter, who has own ICQ and Jabber, that’s why after buying dedicated server on our platform in Syria – you don’t need standard support, you will have individual support» –

They also provide various options, including the individual configuration of hardware on any dedicated servers, which can take from 2 to 5 days, and the opportunity of choosing and registering of own subnet of IP addresses.

What did this location become so attractive for bad actors?

The answer is easy then you can imagine. First of all, because of very negative geopolitical relationships, both countries are still isolated from the EU and US in terms of any mutual cooperation, especially in telecommunications and security fields.

“These countries have negative relations with Europe,” “That’s why it is a great platform for bulletproof hosting.” said Andrey Komarov, IntelCrawler’s CEO,.

Law enforcement, ISPs and private firms have improved their cooperation in the fight to the cybercrime, joint operations have been conducted against the crime online and principal governments are working to the definition of law framework dealing with Internet crime on a global scale.

The Budapest convention on cybercrime  “is the first international treaty seeking to address Internet and computer crime by harmonizing national laws, improving investigative techniques, and increasing cooperation among nations” but still many countries don’t conform to it, those states are the heaven for cybercrime activities.

Secondly, Syria is quite independent and not well developed in terms of the ISP business, prior to the Syrian civil war, telecommunications in Syria were slowly moving towards liberalization, with a number of licenses awarded and services launched in the Internet service provision market. Most forms of fixed-line communications are provided by the state owned operator, Syrian Telecom (Syriatel or STE).

Previously, some sorts of state sponsored malware and its C&C servers were already found in the subnets of STE, such as «Darkcomet» in 2012. C&C was located on 216.6.0.28 IP address, which is belonged to Damascus STE.

Mentioned IP is belonged to AS6453, Owner – GLOBEINTERNET TATA Communications, one of the companies, which provides Syria external services, besides Turk Telecom (AS9121), Telecom Italia (AS6762) and PCCW Global (AS3491). According to these facts, the owners of new bulletproof hosting provider mentioned that their data center has wonderful direct connection with directly to Frankfurt from Tier-1 providers (Level3, GLBX, Tinet, Cogent), that’s why there will be no additional hops on the line in order to avoid any delays, which makes it a unique place for telecommunication underground business.

«There are not so many alternatives for those guys where to place servers for hosting, that’s why their infrastructure could be located in one of STE data centers in several racks, which will be enough for hosting of quite big amount of illegal content from all over the world, firstly, related to malicious code» – said Andrey Komarov.

On the other side, “WebHost” mentioned that for different kinds of projects they can provide bulletproof hosting in more than 25 countries with prices from just 80 USD.

Probably, we will see new bulletproof zones instead Taiwan, Romania, Indonesia, Latvia or other countries very soon, in face of Yemen, Egypt, Iraq, Iran.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  Bulletproof hosting, Cybercrime)

 

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