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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Phony Bomb Threat Caller Sold Drugs on the Darknet

In early April, police arrested 19-year-old Michael Kaydar at his home in Ashkelon, Israel. Israel’s Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s’ Court remanded the 19-year-old Israeli-American hacker for the third time in part of a larger investigation. Court advised the man of conducting hundreds of fake bomb threat phone calls to Jewish institutions. The investigation took off once the hacker called Jewish Community Centers in the United States.

The FBI traced the call back to a SpoofCard phone service—a website where Kaydar placed the bomb threat calls with a fake, or spoofed, phone number. FBI agents took the matter seriously as they suspected the calls were connected to the same entity that made calls since January and possibly more across the world. Also, the FBI dislike bomb threats and treat them all, phony or legitimate, the same.

They then subpoenaed the company behind SpoofCard. They hoped to find the account owner information as, to sign up for the service, one must provide a phone number of their own. It undoubtedly came as no surprise that the so-called hacker used another number that forced the FBI to work even harder. He used a Google Voice number. Far from anonymous but easy to sign up with fictitious information.

Google servers provide agents with little information to depend on. The caller routed the Google Voice calls through a proxy that kept his identity even further hidden than the woman’s voice he used when making the fake bomb threats. Kaydar’s payment methods only made matters worse for the FBI. Instead of paying for any services with standard forms of internet payment, he used Bitcoin.

He ultimately slipped up once he felt untouchable, authorities said. He accidentally made “one or two calls” without the proxy enabled and the FBI used those attempts against him. They found and traced his IP address to the family home in Ashkelon. They truly traced the IP to an access point near the home where Kaydar launched his calls from with an external antenna that he aimed out the window but the outcome stayed the same.

Now, at his third court appearance, we learned that investigators analyzed the suspect’s computer and found that “he had traded millions of dollars in bitcoin digital currency on the darknet.” Additionally, “the suspect used the darknet to sell drugs and forge passports, driver licenses and other identity papers.” Law enforcement is looking into any potential buyers of the products that the 19-year-old once sold.

The list of charges grew tremendously, including but not limited to: “malicious intent to cause harm, sabotage, extortion and intimidation, money laundering, illegal possession of weapons, receiving illicit benefits under aggravated circumstances, falsifying computer records, hacking, inciting public panic and unlawful impersonation for the purpose of committing fraud.”
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