Darknet Exposed: insights from former cybercriminal

Brett Johnson, a former cyber criminal gave a talk on what he did, how he did it and how to avoid people like him in the Lorton Performance Center Oct. 2.
Before Johnson spoke, Federal Agent Preston Acramin began the night by retelling a story about one of the largest cyber crimes cases. Shadow Crew and Cader’s Market were the current English speaking fraudulent sources on the web. Special Agent Malarski found a way in and posed as another member under the name Master Splyntr. He chose to be a spammer because that was the center of cybercrime and was a very versatile method. Master Splyntr got to know other members and really sunk into his role.
After just a few months, he got to know one of the administrators of Shadow Crew, Jilsi. Jilsi trusted him and assigned him to an admin role. The FBI was then running the dark market. He played his admin role for a few more months with several accusations of him being law enforcement. One of the other admins went so far to trace his computer location, which pointed at the FBI headquarters where he was placed.
The FBI agents placed to help him out on security quickly shut the locator down and Shadow Cast had no evidence of that information. Within a few months, Agent Malarski arrested 63 people including the three top masterminds Jilsi, Iceman and Brett Johnson himself.
On the dark market, the vendors sell bank logins, fake IDs and Fullz. Fullz are packets full of all the identifying information about a person, including social security number and credit cards.
After purchasing Fullz, the buyer uses a MSR206 machine which encodes clone cards with all the information they bought.
Brett Johnson climbed onto stage and explained that he might appear arrogant but he had nothing to be prideful about.
Cybercrime is a serious offense, and it is not something anyone want to be involved with. Then he began his story.
As a young boy, Johnson went through abuse from his mother.
“It was everything but physical abuse.” said Johnson. She would leave him and his sister alone at home for several days. To survive, they would have to go out and steal from the local grocery store.
They realized how easy stealing was and began to steal larger items such as clothes and toys.
Their largest item was a television. When the mother returned, she asked where everything came from.
After a little more questioning, she found out they stole it. Unlike other mothers, she decided to join then and involve her own mom. They became a family of thieves.
As he grew up, he continued his fraudulent behavior.
In 1994 after losing his job, he financed his first marriage by faking a car accident. He cashed out with a large sum of insurance money.
Next, he sold high priced Beanie Babies, received the money and sent the buyer fake toys. Also he sold pirating software.
His pirating business was so successful that he was forced to buy several fake IDs to make bank accounts and hold the excess cash. This lead him to Shadow Cast, where he committed unrestrained amounts of credit card and identity fraud. He and many others were caught and received 90 months in jail. He escaped the first time and went on the run for four months. He bought a Visa loadable gift card from a nearby Walmart and began hacking ATMs. He quickly accumulated $400,000 and took himself to Disneyworld and Universal Studios because he knew they were going to lock him up again soon. They captured him and put him in maximum security federal prison. Federal prison requires inmates to have jobs. Johnson’s job was teaching a Book Club/Literature Class. He admits there were no discussion over books; he taught computer fraud to others. After being released from federal prison, he vowed to never touch a computer again.
Now, Johnson works for AnglerPhish.com. They specialize in helping companies to prevent fraud against them. Johnson is a spokesperson who consults companies to help them with any current crime or crime they’d like to prevent.
The talk ended with Brett Johnson giving guidelines on who to protect yourself from cybercrime, and he opened the floor for questions. Students asked a variety of different questions related to hacking and security.

Post Author: Cheyanne Wheat