Interview With the Guy Who Tried to Frame Me for Heroin Possession

In April 2013, I received via U.S. mail more than a gram of pure heroin as part of a scheme to get me arrested for drug possession. But the plan failed and the Ukrainian mastermind behind it soon after was imprisoned for unrelated cybercrime offenses. That individual recently gave his first interview since finishing his jail time here in the states, and he’s shared some select (if often abrasive and coarse) details on how he got into cybercrime and why. Below are a few translated excerpts.

When I first encountered now-31-year-old Sergei “Fly,” “Flycracker,” “MUXACC” Vovnenko in 2013, he was the administrator of the fraud forum “thecc[dot]bz,” an exclusive and closely guarded Russian language board dedicated to financial fraud and identity theft.

Many of the heavy-hitters from other fraud forums had a presence on Fly’s forum, and collectively the group financed and ran a soup-to-nuts network for turning hacked credit card data into mounds of cash.

Vovnenko first came onto my radar after his alter ego Fly published a blog entry that led with an image of my bloodied, severed head and included my credit report, copies of identification documents, pictures of our front door, information about family members, and so on. Fly had invited all of his cybercriminal friends to ruin my financial identity and that of my family.

Somewhat curious about what might have precipitated this outburst, I was secretly given access to Fly’s cybercrime forum and learned he’d freshly hatched a plot to have heroin sent to my home. The plan was to have one of his forum lackeys spoof a call from one of my neighbors to the police when the drugs arrived, complaining that drugs were being delivered to our house and being sold out of our home by Yours Truly.

Thankfully, someone on Fly’s forum also posted a link to the tracking number for the drug shipment. Before the smack arrived, I had a police officer come out and take a report. After the heroin showed up, I gave the drugs to the local police and wrote about the experience in Mail From the Velvet Cybercrime Underground.

Angry that I’d foiled the plan to have me arrested for being a smack dealer, Fly or someone on his forum had a local florist send a gaudy floral arrangement in the shape of a giant cross to my home, complete with a menacing message that addressed my wife and was signed, “Velvet Crabs.”

The floral arrangement that Fly or one of his forum lackeys had delivered to my home in Virginia.

Vovnenko was arrested in Italy in the summer of 2014 on identity theft and botnet charges, and spent some 15 months in arguably Italy’s worst prison contesting his extradition to the United States. Those efforts failed, and he soon pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and wire fraud, and spent several years bouncing around America’s prison system.

Although Vovnenko sent me a total of three letters from prison in Naples (a hand-written apology letter and two friendly postcards), he never responded to my requests to meet him following his trial and conviction on cybercrime charges in the United States. I suppose that is fair: To my everlasting dismay, I never responded to his Italian dispatches (the first I asked to be professionally analyzed and translated before I would touch it).

Seasons greetings from my pen pal, Flycracker.

After serving his 41 month sentence in the U.S., Vovnenko was deported, although it’s unclear where he currently resides (the interview excerpted here suggests he’s back in Italy, but Fly doesn’t exactly confirm that). 

In an interview published on the Russian-language security blog Krober[.]biz, Vovnenko said he began stealing early in life, and by 13 was already getting picked up for petty robberies and thefts.

A translated English version of the interview was produced and shared with KrebsOnSecurity by analysts at New York City-based cyber intelligence firm Flashpoint.

Sometime in the mid-aughts, Vovnenko settled with his mother in Naples, Italy, but he had trouble keeping a job for more than a few days. Until a chance encounter led to a front job at a den of thieves.

“When I came to my Mom in Naples, I could not find a permanent job. Having settled down somewhere at a new job, I would either get kicked out or leave in the first two days. I somehow didn’t succeed with employment until I was invited to work in a wine shop in the historical center of Naples, where I kinda had to wipe the dust from the bottles. But in fact, the wine shop turned out to be a real den and a sales outlet of hashish and crack. So my job was to be on the lookout and whenever the cops showed up, take a bag of goods and leave under the guise of a tourist.”

Cocaine and hash were plentiful at his employer’s place of work, and Vovnenko said he availed himself of both abundantly. After he’d saved enough to buy a computer, Fly started teaching himself how to write programs and hack stuff. He quickly became enthralled with the romanticized side of cybercrime — the allure of instant cash — and decided this was his true vocation.

“After watching movies and reading books about hackers, I really wanted to become a sort of virtual bandit who robs banks without leaving home,” Vovnenko recalled. “Once, out of curiosity, I wrote an SMS bomber that used a registration form on a dating site, bypassing the captcha through some kind of rookie mistake in the shitty code. The bomber would launch from the terminal and was written in Perl, and upon completion of its work, it gave out my phone number and email. I shared the bomber somewhere on one of my many awkward sites.”

“And a couple of weeks later they called me. Nah, not the cops, but some guy who comes from Sri Lanka who called himself Enrico. He told me that he used my program and earned a lot of money, and now he wants to share some of it with me and hire me. By a happy coincidence, the guy also lived in Naples.”

“When we met in person, he told me that he used my bomber to fuck with a telephone company called Wind. This telephone company had such a bonus service: for each incoming SMS you received two cents on the balance. Well, of course, this guy bought a bunch of SIM cards and began to bomb them, getting credits and loading them into his paid lines, similar to how phone sex works.”

But his job soon interfered with his drug habit, and he was let go.

“At the meeting, Enrico gave me 2K euros, and this was the first money I’ve earned, as it is fashionable to say these days, on ‘cybercrime’. I left my previous job and began to work closely with Enrico. But always stoned out of my mind, I didn’t do a good job and struggled with drug addiction at that time. I was addicted to cocaine, as a result, I was pulling a lot more money out of Enrico than my work brought him. And he kicked me out.”

After striking out on his own, Vovnenko says he began getting into carding big time, and was introduced to several other big players on the scene. One of those was a cigarette smuggler who used the nickname Ponchik (“Doughnut”).

I wonder if this is the same Ponchik who was arrested in 2013 as being the mastermind behind the Blackhole exploit kit, a crimeware package that fueled an overnight explosion in malware attacks via Web browser vulnerabilities.

In any case, Vovnenko had settled on some schemes that were generating reliably large amounts of cash.

“I’ve never stood still and was not focusing on carding only, with the money I earned, I started buying dumps and testing them at friends’ stores,” Vovnenko said. “Mules, to whom I signed the hotlines, were also signed up for cashing out the loads, giving them a mere 10 percent for their work. Things seemed to be going well.”


There is a large chronological gap in Vovnenko’s account of his cybercrime life story from that point on until the time he and his forum friends started sending heroin, large bags of feces and other nasty stuff to our Northern Virginia home in 2013.

Vovnenko claims he never sent anything and that it was all done by members of his forum.

-Tell me about the packages to Krebs.
“That ain’t me. Suitcase filled with sketchy money, dildoes, and a bouquet of coffin wildflowers. They sent all sorts of crazy shit. Forty or so guys would send. When I was already doing time, one of the dudes sent it. By the way, Krebs wanted to see me. But the lawyer suggested this was a bad idea. Maybe he wanted to look into my eyes.”

In one part of the interview, Fly is asked about but only briefly touches on how he was caught. I wanted to add some context here because this part of the story is richly ironic, and perhaps a tad cathartic.

Around the same time Fly was taking bitcoin donations for a fund to purchase heroin on my behalf, he was also engaged to be married to a nice young woman. But Fly apparently did not fully trust his bride-to-be, so he had malware installed on her system that forwarded him copies of all email that she sent and received.

Fly,/Flycracker discussing the purchase of a gram of heroin from Silk Road seller “10toes.”

But Fly would make at least two big operational security mistakes in this spying effort: First, he had his fiancée’s messages forwarded to an email account he’d used for plenty of cybercriminal stuff related to his various “Fly” identities.

Mistake number two was the password for his email account was the same as one of his cybercrime forum admin accounts. And unbeknownst to him at the time, that forum was hacked, with all email addresses and hashed passwords exposed.

Soon enough, investigators were reading Fly’s email, including the messages forwarded from his wife’s account that had details about their upcoming nuptials, such as shipping addresses for their wedding-related items and the full name of Fly’s fiancée. It didn’t take long to zero in on Fly’s location in Naples.

While it may sound unlikely that a guy so immeshed in the cybercrime space could make such rookie security mistakes, I have found that a great many cybercriminals actually have worse operational security than the average Internet user.

I suspect this may be because the nature of their activities requires them to create vast numbers of single- or brief-use accounts, and in general they tend to re-use credentials across multiple sites, or else pick very poor passwords — even for critical resources.

In addition to elaborating on his hacking career, Fly talks a great deal about his time in various prisons (including their culinary habits), and an apparent longing or at least lingering fondness for the whole carding scene in general.

Towards the end, Fly says he’s considering going back to school, and that he may even take up information security as a study. I wish him luck in that whatever that endeavor is as long as he can also avoid stealing from people.

I don’t know what I would have written many years ago to Fly had I not been already so traumatized by receiving postal mail from him. Perhaps it would go something like this:

“Dear Fly: Thank you for your letters. I am very sorry to hear about the delays in your travel plans. I wish you luck in all your endeavors — and I sincerely wish the next hopeful opportunity you alight upon does not turn out to be a pile of shit.”

The entire translated interview is here (PDF). Fair warning: Many readers may find some of the language and topics discussed in the interview disturbing or offensive.

from Krebs on Security

Ya fue liberada la nueva versión de los controladores Mesa 19.2.0


Se ha presentado el lanzamiento de la nueva versión de la implementación gratuita de OpenGL y Vulkan, Mesa 19.2.0, siendo esta la primera versión de la rama Mesa 19.2.0 que tiene un estado experimental, ya que después de la estabilización final del código, se lanzará una versión estable 19.2.1.

Para quienes desconocen de los controladores MESA son los controladores de software Linux de código abierto disponibles para hardware AMD, NVIDIA e Intel. El proyecto de Mesa comenzó como una implementación de código abierto de la especificación OpenGL (un sistema para la representación de gráficos 3D interactivos).

A través de los años, el proyecto creció a implementar más API de gráficos, incluyendo OpenGL ES (versiones 1, 2, 3), OpenCL, OpenMAX, VDPAU, VA API, XvMC y Vulkan.

Una variedad de controladores de dispositivos permite a las bibliotecas Mesa ser utilizada en muchos entornos diferentes, desde la emulación de software para completar la aceleración de hardware para las GPU modernas.

Mesa implementa una capa de traducción independiente del fabricante entre un API de gráficos como OpenGL y los controladores de gráficos en el núcleo del sistema operativo.

Además de las aplicaciones 3D, como juegos, los servidores gráficos utilizan llamadas OpenGL/EGL para producir la imagen en pantalla.

Principales novedades de Mesa 19.2.0

Esta nueva versión de Mesa 19.2 proporciona soporte completo de OpenGL 4.5 para controladores i965, radeonsi y nvc0, soporte Vulkan 1.1 para tarjetas Intel y AMD, así como soporte para el estándar OpenGL 4.6 para tarjetas Intel.

Los controladores (i965, iris) para tarjetas gráficas Intel (gen7 +) brindan soporte completo para OpenGL 4.6 y el lenguaje para describir los sombreadores GLSL 4.60.

Antes de proporcionar soporte para OpenGL 4.6 en controladores radeonsi (AMD) y nvc0 (NVIDIA), queda por implementar las extensiones GL_ARB_gl_spirv y GL_ARB_spirv_extensions, que se agregaron para el controlador i965 en agosto.

La expansión de la funcionalidad del nuevo controlador Iris para las GPU Intel continuó, lo que en términos de sus capacidades casi alcanzó la paridad con el controlador i965.

El controlador Iris se basa en la arquitectura Gallium3D, que lleva las tareas de administración de memoria al controlador DRI en el kernel de Linux y proporciona un rastreador de estado listo para usar con soporte para la caché de reutilización de objetos de salida.

El controlador solo admite GPU basadas en la microarquitectura Gen8 + (Broadwell, Skylake) con GPU HD, UHD e Iris.

Para el caso de los controladores y RADV RadeonSI en esta nueva versión de Mesa 19.2.0 se añadio el soporte para GPU AMD Navi 10 (Radeon RX 5700) y el soporte inicial para Navi 14.

El conductor RadeonSI también añadió futuro apoyo APU Renoir (Zen 2 c GPU Navi) y parcialmente Arcturus (mientras que sólo las capacidades computacionales y motor decodificación de video VCN 2.5, sin 3D).

En los conductores Gallium3D R600 para algunas tarjetas de AMD mayores (HD 5800/6900) provistos con OpenGL 4.5 apoyo.

Además también en este lanzamiento se destacan las nuevas extensiones OpenGL agregadas:

  • GL_ARB_post_depth_coverage para el controlador radeonsi (Navi)
  • GL_ARB_seamless_cubemap_per_texture para el controlador etnaviv (compatible con SEAMLESS_CUBE_MAP en la GPU)
  • GL_EXT_shader_image_load_store para el controlador radeonsi (con LLVM 10+)
  • GL_EXT_shader_samples_identical para controladores de iris y radeonsi (si se usa NIR)
  • GL_EXT_texture_shadow_lod para i965 y controladores de iris

Así como también las extensiones al controlador Vulkan RADV (para tarjetas AMD):

  • VK_AMD_buffer_marker
  • VK_EXT_index_type_uint8
  • VK_EXT_post_depth_coverage
  • VK_EXT_queue_family_foreign
  • VK_EXT_sample_locations
  • VK_KHR_depth_stencil_resolve
  • VK_KHR_imageless_framebuffer
  • VK_KHR_shader_atomic_int64
  • VK_KHR_uniform_buffer_standard_layout

Y una extensión al controlador ANV Vulkan (para tarjetas Intel):

  • VK_EXT_shader_demote_to_helper_invocation

De los demás cambios anunciados en esta nueva versión de los controladores:

  • Para RadeonSI introdujo un nuevo vinculador del runtime: rtld;
  • Optimización del rendimiento de los controladores RADV y Virgl
  • El controlador Panfrost para GPUs basado en microarquitecturas Midgard (Mali-T6xx, Mali-T7xx, Mali-T8xx) y Bifrost (Mali G3x, G5x, G7x) utilizados en muchos dispositivos con procesadores ARM se ha ampliado. Las capacidades del controlador ahora son suficientes para que GNOME Shell funcione
  • Se agregó la extensión EGL propuesta por NVIDIA EGL_EXT_platform_device , que permite inicializar EGL sin acceder a la API específica del dispositivo

Finalmente toca espera a que esta nueva versión de los controladores Mesa comience a ser distribuido en las principales distribuciones de Linux durante los próximos días.

from Linux Adictos

Purism ya comenzó con el envió del primer lote del Librem 5


Purism anunció mediante una publicación en su blog la disponibilidad del primer lote del teléfono inteligente Librem 5, con lo cual todas aquellas personas que realizaron su compra y eligieron que se les entregara el primer lote del Librem 5, el cual es el “Lote Aspen” que tiene un plazo de envío del 24 de septiembre al 22 de octubre. Sin embargo, no dijeron cuántos teléfonos se están produciendo como parte de este primer lote.

Y es que después de casi un año de demoras por fin el Librem 5 se envía a las primeras personas. Como se informó, Purism está adoptando una estrategia poco convencional para desplegar los teléfonos en lotes con cada lote obteniendo un emsamblado o software más refinado. Sin embargo, purism aclara que todos los lotes tienen el paquete completo y que las diferencias en la producción son principalmente estéticas o internas.

Para quienes aún desconocen de Librem 5 deben saber que este es un teléfono notable por la disponibilidad de software y hardware para bloquear los intentos de rastrear y recopilar información del usuario.

El teléfono inteligente le da al usuario un control completo sobre el dispositivo y está equipado con solo software libre, incluidos controladores y firmware.


Es importante recordar que el Librem 5 viene la distribución PureOS y el entorno Gnome adaptado para teléfonos inteligentes y está equipado con tres interruptores de hardware que le permiten desconectar la cámara, el micrófono, WiFi/Bluetooth y el módulo de banda base a nivel de circuito abierto.

Cuando los tres interruptores están apagados, los sensores (IMU+ brújula y GNSS, sensores de luz y proximidad) se bloquean adicionalmente. Los componentes del chip de banda base, que es responsable de trabajar en redes celulares, están separados de la CPU principal, que proporciona el entorno del usuario.

El precio de Purism Librem 5 para los primeros clientes fue de $ 649, pero, como se anunció, en el lanzamiento aumentó a $ 699.

Alternativamente, puede optar por un conjunto con un monitor de 24 pulgadas, estación de acoplamiento y periféricos, que le permite convertir Librem 5 en una computadora de escritorio. El costo de todo el conjunto es de $ 1399 Un paquete similar con un monitor de 30 pulgadas cuesta $ 1699.

De los elementos que se dieron a conocer sobre la entrega de este lote es que llegara con una caja hecha a mano con un diseño aproximado de elementos.

Junto con el prelanzamiento de aplicaciones básicas con la capacidad de administrar la libreta de direcciones, navegación fácil en la red, el sistema de administración de energía inicial e instalación de actualizaciones ejecutando comandos en el terminal.


Todd Weaver fundador y CEO de Purism comento en la publicación:

“Ver el increíble esfuerzo del equipo de Purismo y tener el primer Librem 5 en pleno funcionamiento, ha sido el momento más inspirador de los cinco años de historia del Purism”

“Se ha necesitado nada menos que todos y cada uno de los compañeros de equipo dedican su experiencia para llegar a donde estamos, además de una comunidad de personas notables que entienden que debemos tener éxito en la creación de un teléfono que ofrezca a la sociedad un control y propiedad completos para respetarlos por completo”

Esto es lo que representa el Librem 5 y, en mi humilde opinión, es un teléfono que representa la mayor de las visiones que gritan desde los tejados: “¡No renunciaré a mi libertad!”

Esta es una nota personal de agradecimiento al equipo de Purism, a los patrocinadores que nos han apoyado abrumadoramente en cada paso del camino, y a la comunidad que se ha ofrecido voluntariamente para difundir el mensaje, compartir ideas.

Finalmente con la llegada de este primer lote del teléfono inteligente Librem 5 a manos de los entusiastas de Linux, la verdadera prueba de la promesa de Purism finalmente comenzará.

En otras palabras al final los usuarios son quienes darán su critica si el rendimiento y la facilidad de uso del software son realmente los prometidos y sobre todo si son adecuados para el uso diario.


from Linux Adictos

Runtastic deja de ser Runtastic: cambio de nombre en la app de running más conocida de Android

Si echamos un vistazo rápido en Play Store, veremos que existen multitud de aplicaciones para hacer ejercicio y mantener una vida saludable, aunque desde siempre una de las más conocidas y mejor valoradas por los usuarios ha sido Runtastic. La popular aplicación de ejercicio no pasó desapercibida mucho tiempo y fue adquirida por una de las empresas más importantes en el año 2017, adidas, lo que dio lugar a grandes

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