Other Methods of the RBN
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Welcome to another installment in our series on Cybercrime, Cybercriminals, and Internet Syndicates. We last left off discussing some of the methodologies of the Russian Business Network, such as fake anti-spyware programs, the iFrameCash affiliate program, and search exploits. Here, we will pick up where we left off, wrapping up our discussion of the other methods used by this, and other, groups.
In the interim between this and my last article, Michael Lowry, a staff writer here at Dev Shed, covered the ins and outs of denial of service and dedicated denial of service attacks. Part of this article will look at how the RBN uses these attacks to take “enemies” offline, and force businesses to pay for protection against them.
Pump and Dump
Pump and dump is a term used to describe a scan in which a particular stock is hyped through various channels (i.e. forums, paid newsletters, spam, etc.) in an effort to get uninformed investors to purchase the stock on fake news. The hope is that the recipients will purchase shares of the stock, driving up the price. Meanwhile, the scammer will already own shares, and sell once the price climbs a certain percentage, leaving the victims holding a bogus stock which inevitably crashes, usually shortly thereafter.
Typically these pump and dump schemes target the small cap market, stocks that trade on the over-the-counter-bulletin-board (OTBCC) and stocks designated as .pk by the NYSE. The majority of these stocks do not meet the requirements to properly list on the normal markets, and in most cases are not required to fully file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Because of this, the stocks are often worth very little, frequently a percentage of a penny per share, and investors are duped because they seemingly have little to lose. Please note that not all stocks on these markets are sold for such low prices.
The Russian Business Network uses this scheme to gain a significant amount of money. They deploy such malware as Rustock, which compromises a user's computer and sends out spam mail.
In addition to stock-related spam, Rustock has been known to send out pharmaceutical and mortgage spam as well.
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