NEW YORK (PRWEB) March 06, 2018
The AnastasiaDate Group of international dating services, a provider of communication platforms to a large global membership, has revealed its important role in the very first successful prosecution of cybercriminals in Ukraine at the start of 2018, which followed a series of DDoS attacks last year that disrupted online businesses worldwide. Close teamwork between specialists at AnastasiaDate and its cyber security partners Group-IB and Qrator Labs lead to successful investigation of the incident and collecting vital evidence to prosecute the ringleader of the felonies.
The groundbreaking prosecution, a first for the courts in Ukraine, resulted in a full 5-year conditional sentence for Inna Yasenko* of Cherkassy. Ms. Yasenko led a team of hackers in blocking hundreds of US-based servers using a method known as a DDoS attack. The attacks took advantage of hundreds of thousands of zombie devices and computers, used to overpower the targeted servers with over 50Mbits/second of traffic. The cybercriminals then tried to extort funds from international Internet companies including AnastasiaDate together with online retail, electronic payment systems, and currency exchange sites.
AnastasiaDate’s US-based director, Lewis Ferro, revealed more about the efforts to tackle the crisis, “We are satisfied with the successful outcome of the prosecution and the blow we have struck against cybercrime in Ukraine. The collaboration with our security partners has guaranteed the integrity of our services and helped reinforce our defenses for the future. It has been of the utmost importance to our international partners. It is another example of AnastasiaDate’s trustworthiness and diligence when it comes to member security, tackling fraud, and preventing criminal activity.”
The criminal actions involved three teams of offenders who firstly hacked and infected computers, selected targets for blackmail, and then planned the DDoS attacks and threatened companies. Among affected companies were the American data and hosting company Stafford Associates and electronic payment system PayOnline.
Group-IB, an international company specializing in cyberattack prevention, worked to assist the Ukrainian investigators in collecting formidable evidence to prosecute in court. Group-IB has recently conducted an investigation into DDoS activities targeting AnastasiaDate Group in order to identify the identity of the criminals behind the attacks.
Specialists from Group-IB’s investigation department analyzed digital traces from the attack and identified not only the identity of the perpetrators, but also connections to other attacks against online stores, payment systems, as well as websites offering betting, lottery and gaming services. The data and digital evidence confirm involvement of Ms Yatsenko and Mr Grishkian** in extortion activities in 2015 and 2016 and this information was provided to AnastasiaDate’s security team. “This is the first large-scale international DDoS-extortion case in the Ukraine, which was solved from the support of Group-IB experts and brought to court," says Ilya Sachkov, Group-IB CEO. "This precedent is in many respects indicative: it demonstrates the coordinated and effective cooperation of international partners, which has enabled us to achieve the common goal and bring the case to court. No matter where the crime is committed - on the street, at the bank or on the Internet - the perpetrator will be punished. It is essential to understand that under no circumstances should anyone pay ransom to criminals and thereby sponsor crime. Only professional security companies with respective expertise should enter into a dialogue with cyber-criminals.”
Qrator Labs founder and CEO Alexander Lyamin, the other international partner who took an active role in neutralizing the attack and collecting evidence, revealed the complex nature of the DDoS attacks: "In autumn 2015 our systems indicated a DDoS attack on one of AnastasiaDate resources, during which Qrator filtering network blacklisted approximately 2000 source IP-addresses. There were no visible spikes in packets, nor in requests. The decrease in both web application efficiency and server performance (growth of responses with latency over 1 second, which is a massive service degradation) indicates that most probably AnastasiaDate resources were aimed with application layer attack, targeting a specific stress point within application architecture.
Almost a year later, in 2016, AnastasiaDate started receiving extortion e-mails, as well as experiencing somewhat ferocious DDoS attacks of nearly 20 Gbps mitigated volumetric requests, with over 10 000 IPs blacklisted. Such attacks are generated by a botnet, with several protocols being utilized. There were peaks in TCP traffic and packet rate with rather average RPS. Such assault exceeded the channel AnastasiaDate got with its upstreams within data-center, so successfully executed such attack could bring immense damage to the business itself, not just only the current availability of one particular resource."
The collaboration between all parties involved was essential as many cybercrimes often go unreported due to lack of resources, doubts about prosecution, and fear of reprisals by blackmailers. Instead, the court recognized the magnitude of the offences, a ruling likely to have an impact on the Ukrainian courts in the long-term.
As Stephen Wang, an expert in cybercrime investigations at Stafford Associates, explains: “The Ukrainian authorities are taking active measures to eliminate the weak spots in the legislation and bring the perpetrators to justice. As a result, even criminals begin to understand that they can be caught and punished.”
The trial not only resulted in a suspended sentence of 5 years for the ringleader, it also stopped the expansion of a team of cybercriminals and highlighted the importance of tackling such crime head on.
*Ms Yatsenko - case number #711/9946/17
**Mr Grishkian - case number #711/10235/17
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AnastasiaDate is the leading international dating service that facilitates exciting and romantic companionship between men and women all over the world. Founded in 1993, AnastasiaDate now has over 20 million international users annually. Additionally, over 1.5 million conversations are exchanged onsite daily. AnastasiaDate is committed to member safety, customer satisfaction and the ongoing pursuit of innovation. Part of the Social Discovery Ventures network, AnastasiaDate is headquartered in New York with additional representation in every country it touches, providing a high level of customer service to a worldwide clientele. All members are able to communicate across a variety of top-notch multimedia platforms, including video chat and a mobile app for iPhone and Android devices.
Group-IB is an international company that prevents cyberattacks. In 14 years of investigating complex incidents, company experts have accumulated a unique knowledge base and built a global infrastructure for cyberthreat monitoring — Threat Intelligence. This system is acknowledged by Gartner, Forrester, the and IDC and forms the basis of a line of products for protection against attacks, preventing online fraud, and intellectual property protection. The company is a permanent member of the World Economic Forum.
Qrator Labs is the new leader in DDoS attack mitigation. Qrator is an innovative network filtering solution, which helps mid-market and enterprise organizations proactively, reliably and affordably protect their websites from the most harmful, sophisticated DDoS attacks. Unlike companies that charge based upon each attack, Qrator filters website traffic 24/7 at a predictable, fixed monthly cost. This helps companies budget for DDoS protection and control IT costs, with no hardware to purchase. Qrator Labs work with organizations in a variety of industries including financial institutions, media, content aggregators, ecommerce and gaming.
PayOnline provides flexible high-tech payment solutions to companies doing business on the Internet. The company have wide experience in integration and customization of payment solutions for websites and mobile apps. They know how to arrange payments on the website of any commercial organization to increase convenience and to achieve the highest possible percent of successful transactions. PayOnline services are already used by more than three thousand companies around the world. The company’s key regions are the CIS, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. Also, PayOnline’s clients work in Western Europe, North America and major Asian subregions. PayOnline offices are located in Russia and in the Republic of Cyprus.
About Stafford Associates:
Stafford Associates, a woman owned company located in Setauket, NY, owns and operates a state of the art certified AICPA/SOC PCI Compliant Data Center that provides such offerings as Colocation, Cloud Computing, and Managed Services.
Company Name: AnastasiaDate
Contact: Anastasia Date PR
Phone: +1 (212) 609-0533
Country: United States
Company Name: Group-IB
Head of Corporate Communications
+7 910 472 24 06 | +7 495 984 3364 ext. 910 komarova(at)group-ib.com