Categories
Security

A teen is reportedly the mastermind behind the Lapsus$ hacking group

In recent weeks, the Lapsus$ hacking group has taken credit for accessing company data from Nvidia, Samsung, Ubisoft, Okta, and even Microsoft, and according to a new Bloomberg report, an England-based teenager might be the person heading up the operation.

“Four researchers investigating the hacking group Lapsus$, on behalf of companies that were attacked, said they believe the teenager is the mastermind,” Bloomberg said. However, the teenager, who apparently uses the online aliases “White” and “breachbase,” has not been accused by law enforcement, and the researchers “haven’t been able to conclusively tie him to every hack Lapsus$ has claimed,” Bloomberg said.

The teenager is apparently based about five miles outside of Oxford University, and Bloomberg says it was able to speak to his mother for ten minutes through a “doorbell intercom system” at the home. The teenager’s mother told the publication she did not know of allegations against him. “She declined to discuss her son in any way or make him available for an interview, and said the issue was a matter for law enforcement and that she was contacting the police,” Bloomberg said.

Lapsus$ apparently doesn’t just consist of the England-based teenager, though. Bloomberg reports that one suspected member is another teenager in Brazil and that seven unique accounts have been linked with the group. One of the members is apparently such a capable hacker that researchers thought the work was automated, one person involved in research about the group told Bloomberg.

According to cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs, a core member of Lapsus$, who may have used the aliases “Oklaqq” and “WhiteDoxbin,” also purchased Doxbin, a website where people can post or search for the personal information of others for the purposes of doxing. This WhiteDoxbin individual apparently wasn’t the best admin and had to sell the site back to its previous owner, but leaked “the entire Doxbin data set,” which led to the Doxbin community doxing WhiteDoxbin, “including videos supposedly shot at night outside his home in the United Kingdom,” Krebs reported.

Krebs also reports that this person may have been behind the EA data breach that took place last year. What may connect the person between Bloomberg and Krebs’ is the name “breachbase.”

From Krebs:

Back in May 2021, WhiteDoxbin’s Telegram ID was used to create an account on a Telegram-based service for launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, where they introduced themself as “@breachbase.” News of EA’s hack last year was first posted to the cybercriminal underground by the user “Breachbase” on the English-language hacker community RaidForums, which was recently seized by the FBI.

The full picture surrounding Lapsus$ is still murky, but I strongly urge you to read both Bloomberg and Krebs’ reports to learn more about what may be going on.

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Categories
Computing

Mastermind Behind Nvidia RTX DLSS Just Got Hired By Intel

Nvidia’s RTX features have been among the primary selling points of its graphics cards in recent years. But now, the mastermind behind those advanced graphics features now works for one of Nvidia’s new rivals in the world of gaming graphics: Intel.

Nvidia RTX consists of two primary features: Real-time ray tracing and Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS), both of which are critical for running the latest games with all the visual glitter turned on. DLSS is critical for running the latest games with ray tracing enabled. It’s the bedrock that has allowed ray tracing to flourish in video games, and it’s a big reason why Nvidia still holds an edge over AMD in the space. Now, Intel looks to be joining the fray.

Nvidia

Intel has now hired the person behind both technologies, Anton Kaplanyan, suggesting that Intel could be working on its own DLSS competitor for its upcoming graphics cards.

Anton Kaplanyan had a short but meaningful stint at Nvidia from 2015 to 2017, during which he helped design RTX ray-tracing hardware and DLSS.

“After the hardware was done, my Nvidia Research colleagues and I realized that the hardware performance would not suffice for real-time visuals, so we started developing a completely new direction of real-time image reconstruction methods,” Kaplanyan wrote in a blog post.

Intel could be working on a similar technology for its upcoming graphics cards — the blog post is careful not to mention DLSS by name, after all. Kaplanyan’s hire is, at least in part, based on his experience with graphics and machine learning. “New differentiating technologies in graphics and machine learning is the missing cherry on the cake,” Kaplanyan wrote.

Anton Kaplanyan headshot.
Intel

That would make sense for Intel. AMD has already fired back at Nvidia with its competing FidelityFX Super Resolution technology, and some recent job postings suggest Microsoft is working on a similar feature. With Intel’s DG2 graphics card on the horizon, the company looks like it’s ready to play ball with the latest graphics technologies.

Intel is forming an all-star roster of graphics experts. In 2017, the company picked up Raja Koduri, who’s known for working in AMD’s Radeon division on the Polaris, Vega, and Navi architectures. Koduri now heads up Intel’s graphics and software sector, leading the charge on the company’s first foray into desktop graphics cards.

Kaplanyan is likely a key part of that strategy, aiding in the development of ray tracing and the software it requires to run in real time. Before joining Intel, Kaplanyan worked as a researcher at Facebook for the company’s virtual reality (VR) endeavors. During that time, Kaplanyan published a paper on neural supersampling, which looks an awful lot like DLSS.

The future of Intel’s graphics department looks bright, assuming the pieces fall in place as they should. With ray tracing pushing graphics more than ever before, as well as the rise of high-resolution and high refresh rate monitors, a supersampling method is essential.

“I think we are at the edge of a new era in graphics — an era where visual computing will become more distributed, more heterogeneous, more power-efficient, more accessible, and more intelligent,” Kaplanyan wrote.

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Categories
Security

Teen ‘mastermind’ behind the great Twitter hack sentenced to three years in prison

Teenage Twitter hacker Graham Ivan Clark has pleaded guilty to last summer’s unprecedented bitcoin scam attack that involved the takeover of dozens of high-profile accounts on the social network, according to paperwork filed in Florida court on Tuesday. Clark, who was 17 when accused of leading the scam, will spend three years in prison as part of his plea deal. The Tampa Bay Times reported the news earlier today.

Clark has already been credited with 229 days of time served since his arrest last summer. As part of the deal, Clark is also being sentenced as a “youthful offender,” which lessened his prison time and also opens up the possibility that he can serve some of his sentence at a boot camp, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Clark will also be banned from using computers without permission and without supervision from law enforcement.

The hack took place on July 15th, 2020, and it quickly became one of the most fraught cybersecurity incidents in Twitter’s history, as accounts belonging to high-profile users like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden were compromised in quick succession to promote a bitcoin scam Clark used to accept more than $100,000 in the cryptocurrency.

How Clark pulled off the hack, which he did alongside two other collaborators he allegedly met on an online username-selling forum called OGusers, has been the subject of numerous reports that detailed the group’s use of internal Twitter tools. Those tools, which can be used to reset account email addresses, allowed Clark and his collaborators to assume control of the accounts and send out tweets soliciting the public for bitcoin.

Shortly after the hack, Clark was arrested at his home in Hillsborough, Florida. Clark’s partners, Nima Fazeli of Orlando and Mason Sheppard of the UK, were charged with federal crimes, too.

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