Cyber Crime Junkies

When Gamers Start Swatting: Violence for Hire Online

July 25, 2024 Cyber Crime Junkies-David Mauro Season 5 Episode 15
When Gamers Start Swatting: Violence for Hire Online
Cyber Crime Junkies
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Cyber Crime Junkies
When Gamers Start Swatting: Violence for Hire Online
Jul 25, 2024 Season 5 Episode 15
Cyber Crime Junkies-David Mauro

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

NEW! Text Us Direct Here!

We discuss true cyber crimes of When Gamers Start Swatting: Violence for Hire Online.

Accelerate your CMMC 2.0 compliance and address federal zero-trust requirements with Kiteworks' universal, secure file sharing platform made for every organization, and helpful to defense contractors.

Visit kiteworks.com to get started. 

We're thrilled to introduce Season 5 Cyber Flash Points to show what latest tech news means to online safety with short stories helping spread security awareness and the importance of online privacy protection.

"Cyber Flash Points" – your go-to source for practical and concise summaries.

So, tune in and welcome to "Cyber Flash Points”

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🎙️ Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5y4U2v51gztlenr8TJ2LJs?si=537680ec262545b3
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Join the Conversation: 💬 Leave your comments and questions. TEXT THE LINK ABOVE . We'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for future episodes!

 

When Gamers Start Swatting: Violence for Hire Online 

 

Summary

 

In this episode of Cybercrime Junkies, the hosts discuss recent technology news and events that have crossed the line morally, philosophically, and legally. They focus on true cybercrime stories involving kids leveraging the dark web and causing physical harm and damages. The conversation covers topics such as violence as a service, swatting, sim swapping, and real-world attacks orchestrated by cybercriminals. 

 

They explore the dark web and the rise of violence as a service. They discuss the connection between sim swapping and physical attacks, highlighting cases where cyber criminals pay others to commit acts of violence. 

 

Chapters

 

00:00 Introduction: Crossing the Line in Technology News

02:49 The Dark Side of Online Gaming

09:22 Exploring the Dark Web

10:49 Sim Swapping and Violence as a Service

19:36 Swatting

25:49 Sim Swapping and Cyber Criminals

29:12 Phone Hacking and the Story of Michael Turpin

34:03 The Million Dollar Theft and Cover-Up

40:33 Swatting as a Tool for Harassment and Extortion

51:26 Importance of Awareness and Vigilance

 

Topics: when gamers start swatting, violence-for-hire online dangers, violence-for-hire online, violence as a service, swatting, sim swapping, cryptocurrency theft, new violence for sale online, how online gamers cross line, online gamers cross the line, when online gamers cross the line, when online gamers break the law, how online gamers break the law, sim swapping hacking, selling violence-for-hire, online forums sell violence, violence for hire, how violence for hire is done online, latest violence for hire online, latest ways violence is for hire online, how violence is or hire online, why violence is now for hire online, streamer violence, sim swap attacks and online violence, sim swaps and violent trends online, violence from online hackers

 

 

 

Takeaways

 

·      Kids involved in online gaming can be exposed to toxic and dangerous environments, leading to real-world harm.

·      The dark web is a hidden part of the internet where illegal activities, including violence as a service, take place.

·      Sim swapping is a fraudulent method used by cybercriminals to gain access to someone's mobile number.

·      Violence as a service involves cybercriminals hiring individuals to carry out physical attacks on their rivals.

·      Swatting is a dangerous tactic where false distress calls are made to law enforcement, resulting in heavily armed police responses.

·      Real-world attacks orchestrated by cybercriminals are becoming increasingly common and can have deadly consequences. The dark web is a breeding ground for cybercriminal activities, including violence as a service.

·      Sim swapping has become a lucrative business for teenage and young adult cybercriminals, who steal vast sums of cryptocurrencies.

·      The story of a teenage sim swapper who became a millionaire highlights the vulnerability of individuals to phone hacking and the need for stronger security measures.

·      Swatting, the act of making false threats to emergency services, can have deadly consequences, as innocent people may be harmed.

·      Awareness and vigilance are crucial in protecting oneself from cybercrimes and staying safe online.

 

 

 

 

Dino Mauro (00:00.034)

Welcome everybody to Cybercrime Junkies. I'm your host David Mauro In the studio today is co -host Mark Mosher. Mark, how are you, man? I'm doing wonderful, David. So we've got a really impactful, really intriguing series of events and stories to walk through in today's episode. So today we're going to talk about some recent technology news and events that have simply crossed the line. When I say cross the line, I mean morally, philosophically, and legally.

 

So today's true Cyber Crime Story will involve real stories where kids get involved leveraging the dark web where their actions cross the line not only to become criminal, but enter our physical world and cause millions of dollars of damages and physical harm, including homicide. Another reason we're bringing this to your attention as these stories seem to get lost in the sea of general news media.

 

that many of the cybersecurity field still report on and look at nationally and across the globe, but it seems to get lost in the general stories. So for podcast listeners, we really want to talk about these series. And we're going to talk about a whole host of true cybercrime stories today. We're going to talk about a new emerging threat that we all have to face now, like there isn't enough. And it's violence as a service. It's available right now on the dark

 

We're going to talk about swatting, which is a big issue for law enforcement. We're going to talk about sim swapping. We're talking about a true crime story of baby Al Capone, Alice Pinsky. We're going to talk about Mr. Trulia that helped out Mr. Pinsky to amass a huge fortune through a sim swapping scheme that we're going to talk about. Then we're going to go along the story of Patrick McGovern Allen and then the Wichita

 

swatting, deadly shooting. So those are the things we're going to cover right now. So let's kind of get right into it.

 

Dino Mauro (02:03.342)

Come join us as we dive deeper behind the scenes of security and cybercrime today, interviewing top leaders from around the world and sharing true cybercrime stories to raise awareness. But first a huge thank you to all of our executive co -producers who subscribed to our Prime membership and fueled our growth. So please help us keep this going by subscribing for free to our YouTube channel and downloading our episodes on Apple or Spotify podcasts so we can continue to bring you more of what matters.

 

This is Cybercrime Junkies, and now the

 

Dino Mauro (02:49.678)

David, you said violence. What is that? What did our researchers find around violence as a service? Yeah. So in a leading security article from recent, like September 4th, 2022, Krebs on security, who's the best of the best, really does a lot of great research. We lean on his findings a lot. In the article, they talk about how violence as a service is a real and present danger in both the physical and the digital worlds, especially in the United States.

 

You know, we're going to talk about the research found there and then our other research, the discussions we had with people in law enforcement, as well as other findings and research. There is a multimillion dollar crime that led to indictments and jailing and a seventy five million dollar lawsuit that is still pending today that involved a 15 year old boy in New Jersey who is the son of a physician in an affluent suburb who they call Baby Al Capone.

 

And all this is going to dovetail into our discussion of swatting, sim swapping, and how it's actually unfortunately led to several deaths. A lot of this stems from the online gaming community. And so many kids are involved in gaming, right? In the online community and they feel safe, they feel secure when they're gaming because they're in their bedrooms mostly, right? They're in their apartments, they feel safe. And man, it's not. And most parents...

 

just don't really have a view or a window into that world. You know, when kids are gaming, Mark, and they're online, they're talking to people all over the world, and it's an aggressive, testosterone -filled, toxic environment. And you know who's not in that world? You know who's not listening in? You know who's not monitoring any of that? Parents, right? The parents aren't, law enforcement isn't.

 

counselors, student resource officers, none of them are involved. And that's the version of reality that most of these kids have. And it's led to a lot of great things. And don't get me wrong, we love the gaming culture. We love e -sports. We love the gaming culture. We love the first person shooter games, the platforms, the design, the coding behind it. All of it's fantastic. But there are some side effects to the culture. And that's what we're talking

 

Dino Mauro (05:16.664)

So we've talked about some of this before on previous episodes about the dark web, right? And how some of this, that same toxicity and some of that same violence occurs there. You know, I wanted to maybe just take a second and people that are maybe familiar with the term dark web, but don't really understand what it is and just kind of explain what that looks like just real quick, if I may. Yeah, no, please do. I was just about to ask you because what happens is, is while they're gaming, they're talking on Discord.

 

and other platforms, right? Maybe Snapchat. yep. Telegram, like there's all these, and a lot of these work like Snapchat, meaning the conversations disappear after a little bit, but it also is leading to conversations on the

 

Dino Mauro (06:02.894)

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Dino Mauro (07:02.414)

where they download the Tor browser, where they otherwise access the dark web. So tell people what that means. So it's really quite simple in concept. If you think of all the websites that we know, know, Yahoo, Google, Bing, I guess it's still out there, CNN, the Weather Channel, Macy's, PayPal, whatever it is, that's the surface web. And if you think of and can picture an iceberg, right, like the top of it, it looks immense. It looks huge.

 

But as soon as you go below that level of the surface, the surface web, you really see how big things are. That's how big surface part that we know of is about 5 % of the actual web. Those are all the index, documented, and catalog websites that we can get to, right? You type in something in Google and look at the hundreds of thousands of returns that you get to other listed websites. Now, when you get below the surface to the deep

 

That's a good portion of the actual web. And that's not nefarious in nature. That could be they're not index or catalog because maybe they're pay for view type things. Maybe they're college research papers. Maybe it's medical findings. Maybe it's legal case study. Subject matter that only certain people have not necessarily a bad place. Now, if you imagine you go. So I didn't mean to interrupt you, buddy. What you're saying is the majority of us when we're on the Internet were.

 

Amazon or Google, we're getting the news, watching sports, stuff like that online, Netflix, stuff like that. That's not that's like 4 % of the internet. Right. All of that, all of that entertainment, all that consumption, all social media, all of that is for just a sliver of what's actually out there. Not even 5 % of the actual web. Wow. So below below the dark web or below the deep web is the dark web. And if you can picture at the end of

 

that iceberg, that deep, dark, cold place. That's the dark web. This is a really, really bad place. You can't get there with a regular browser, but you can download one for free that'll take you right there. It suggests that you do that in any way, shape or form. But this is, think of it as an open air market. There are no index, there are no catalog. You can't search for these sites. You have to know how to get to them. But when you do, think of them as like an open air market, like a street.

 

Dino Mauro (09:22.786)

bizarre where everything is for sale and I mean literally everything from drugs to weapons. One of our dark web researchers actually said that there was a Russian tank for sale that had been captured over in the Ukraine was now sitting in Poland for sale. I know, remember that. Drugs, weapons. But and you can find all this there's once you get to the dark web and you install browsers you can search for. yeah, yeah you can find all these places. people may be familiar with you know the infamous Silk Road.

 

I was one of the early pioneers for these open -air markets and bazaars. You can trade that, murder for hire, human trafficking. mean, think of the worst that all takes place is on the dark web. Unbelievable. So in these forums, in these, you know, we're on the dark web and you're in these forums and they use communication platforms that are encrypted and, and, and, you know, anonymous, right? So people seek out certain

 

right? Whether it's to create ransomware, malware, to bribe or extort people in the real world, right? To take over their phones and to get codes and to engage in this process that we're going to talk about today and that's called SIM swapping. So can you walk us through more kind of what SIM swapping is? What is it? What is SIM? Well, and everybody's familiar with the SIM card that's in your phone,

 

So SimSwap is basically... a little white, it's like a little plastic thing. Right, right. It's about the size of your thumbnail, right? It's also known as port out scam. It's also known as SimSplitting, smishing, SimJacking. But what it is, it's quite simply, it's just a fraudulent way of bad people gaining access to someone's mobile number. And it just simply happens when a criminal convinces your cell phone provider to transfer your phone number.

 

to a different SIM card. Wow. And it can all, yeah, and so it can happen when they, when they bribe somebody that works for like AT &T or Verizon or something like that, right? So you get a worker and it's just like when we get a new phone, right? We get a new phone, we go to the store and they turn off our old phone. And then all of a sudden the new phone lights up and has all of our contact info. And now our new, our number now works on that new phone. That's an actual SIM swap, right? That's a legitimate.

 

Dino Mauro (11:49.42)

Right. Okay. So that's what we're talking about. And what happens is they're actually able to bribe because as we've talked about in other episodes, the amount of money that is in cybercrime completely eclipses and dwarfs that of the international drug trade or that of the top five major tech firms out there. Right. When you think of Google and Apple and Facebook and or Meta and you think of all the money they make, it's nothing compared to the amount of money and power

 

cyber criminals have, right? And so they leverage that, they bribe an employee, or they gain access through social engineering, right? They can send texts to people. We get them all the time. We get smishing texts all the time where somebody will say, hey, you won this or hey, can you click this or whatever it is, right? They're done in a way to get you to click on that. When you click on that, they take control of your phone. Yep. Right. And so then what happens?

 

you know, is that process is all discussed in these forums on the dark web. And in these forums, they gather for sim swapping tactics, tips, and things like that. And there's all these sim swapping forums on the dark web where they're talking about it. And what's been making news recently is the amount of high end targets that they've been doing and the damage that it's led to. Because recently it's really crossed the line. It's now become violence as a service.

 

So violence actually in the real world, not online. We're not even talking about cyber bullying. We're talking about actually engaging and collaborating to actually harm people in the real world. Well, yeah, there was a recent result just literally a couple of weeks ago that there was a 21 -year -old guy in New Jersey that had been arrested and charged with stalking in connection of a federal investigation into a group of cyber criminals.

 

who are actually settling scores by hiring people to carry out physical attacks on their rivals. Holy cow. Yeah. So the prosecutors say that this defendant, he recently participated in a couple of these, including firing a gun into a house in Pennsylvania and torching a residence by throwing a Molotov cocktail into it. So this guy, this is all public information. This is what the research show. His name is Patrick McGovern Allen. He's from Egg Harbor township in New Jersey, I believe.

 

Dino Mauro (14:16.706)

He was just arrested on August 12th, just weeks ago. Holy cow. Yeah. Yeah. On a warrant from the FBI. So we actually got to look at the at the FBI complaint and it alleges that McGovern Allen, he was part of a group who were at the forefront of a dangerous like escalation into coercion, intimidation tactics used by competing other cyber criminal groups. So the prosecutor said that I think was around January.

 

second had been identified as one of the many co -conspirators, but he was the one that fired the gun into the residence. Unfortunately, none of the residents were inside the home at the time and no one was injured. But prosecutors say that the assailants actually recorded the video of proof that they had carried out so they could get paid. it's and that's that's unbelievable. And so so check this out. So the video has since been taken down off of YouTube.

 

because they had posted it. is it down now? Yeah, but we have a copy. And so for our crime members, for our cybercrime junkies that have the premium access, we will actually post the videos.

 

Dino Mauro (15:37.592)

Just the

 

Dino Mauro (15:53.428)

Why you didn't fucking wait?

 

Dino Mauro (16:04.782)

just

 

Dino Mauro (16:12.107)

So that you can actually see them as well as the video of this episode, but I'm telling you that it is it's shocking right like when you and I saw it McGovern Allen he yelled he yelled something when he was there right he yelled they fired eight rounds they video themselves doing this and they're and they're talking it's almost like it's a tick -tock challenge for Christ right and they and they walk up to this house and they don't know the lights around the house they don't know that people aren't there and they fired not

 

Not twice. They fire eight rounds right into the living room of this house, blasting through the windows and they scream out Justin Active was here. That's what they scream out. Justin Active was here. So we started to do some research because they're like, what the heck does that mean? Yeah. What does that even mean? What does that mean? They recorded themselves and posted it all over the Internet that Justin Active was here. So on December 8th, 2021, police in Abington

 

Township, Pennsylvania responded to reports of a house fire from homeowners who said it sounded like something was thrown at the residents just before the fire. Weeks later, on the day of this shooting that you were just talking about, a detective with the Westtown East Goshen Police Department contacted the Abington Police, who shared another video that was circulating online that appeared to show two individuals using a Molotov cocktail setting fire

 

to that house in Pennsylvania. The criminal complaint that we reviewed shows what, Mark? It shows that the two, that all the investigators agreed that it's the same people in both videos. So we have a copy of both of those videos. It'll be on our premium access page. You can always see a link to that in the show notes if you want to join. If not, reach out to us on the cybercrimejunkies

 

Right. A copy of that. in that video, it shows two individuals smashing a window and then it shows them lighting a rag soaked Mad Dog 2020 grape wine, which you probably remember back from the 80s and 90s and hurling it at the side of the house, burning, burning. It was a Molotov cocktail. It like caught the whole house on fire. Unbelievable. So the Molotov cocktail caused the entire immediate area.

 

Dino Mauro (18:39.15)

to ignite, including the sighting of the house, all of the grass, and even a wooden chair that was nearby. That's what the indictment says, the complaint. The two suspects then fled on foot down the street and began yelling something just as the video stops. Yeah, so the victims in this, the government mentions, only by their initials, they mentioned KM and the shooting and AR and the firebombing, but said both had been the target of previous harassment.

 

by a rival cyber criminal group that included swatting tactics. And I think we're gonna talk a little bit about that maybe later. But the perpetrators distress call to the police about either a hostage situation or a suicide or a bomb threat or home invasion with the goal of sending like heavily armed police response to a targeted address. And that's a bad result a lot of the times too. absolutely. a number of these prior swatting incidents, we're gonna get to them in just a second, they've turned

 

Because what this is, is you know back, think 20 years ago when kids used to joke like, oh don't want to take this test, I'm going to call in a bomb at the school, right? This is a different level. This is where they are either using deep fake or burner phones or things and they stay on with the police. They stay on with dispatch, they stay on with 911 and they walk them through it and they say, I am behind this door, I have a

 

I'm going to do this. my gosh, the person's got there. They create such a realistic scenario that the police, when they're responding, have no reason to believe that this is not real. Right. And the results have turned deadly. These more these this violence as a service, these hands on and first person attacks are becoming increasingly more common with especially among certain cyber criminal communities, particularly the same cyber criminal groups that are doing the same.

 

Right? And so what the concern is, is obvious, right? Is, is what is it going to lead to next? Right? What are, what are, what are we facing? So the complaint talks about, let's get back into that, trying to figure out who this Justin active person is. the complaint actually mentioned his handle and his user ID that he used on discord, the chat service. And he went by the handle tongue. And I don't know what that is, but in the chats tongue tells other discord users.

 

Dino Mauro (21:05.646)

that he was the person who shot, again, just the initials of the victim, KM's house, and was willing to commit fire bombings using a Molotov cocktail. And obviously that came true. But De Quint also alleges, for example, in one Discord March of 2022, that he simply stated, and I quote you this, if you need anything done for cash, let me know. I did a shooting, Molotov, but I can also do things for your entertainment, end quote. Really bad stuff.

 

So Krebs on security reviewed hundreds of these chat records tied to this tongue alias. And it appears both attacks were motivated by a desire to get back at a rival cyber criminal by attacking the female friends of that rival. Wow. So recall that the shooters in the West Virginia, Pennsylvania incident shouted Justin Active was here. Right. Right. Justin Active, it turns out, is the nickname of an individual.

 

who is just as active in the same cyber criminal channels, but who has vehemently denied knowledge of her participation in the shooting. Justin Active said on Telegram that the person targeted in the shooting was his ex -girlfriend and that the firebombing targeted another friend of his. So they were doing this and taking a video trying to frame him saying Justin Active was here. See?

 

Justin Active has claimed for months that McGovern Allen was responsible for both attacks, saying that they were intended as an intimidation tactic against him. Due to the Patrick McGovern Allen raid dance, people were screaming online that Justin Active's alias K68 was shouting on Telegram just this past August 12th, the same day they finally caught McGovern Allen. So they were celebrating online when they caught the rival.

 

Yeah, that's so who do we believe? Do we believe? McGovern Allen or do we believe Justin Active? Well, you know the this is all our personal opinions and his version of the events. Yeah, and for the record for any lawyers involved, right? Alleged all of this is just we're just reporting on what we're finding or shocked by it right? Because this is something new. Justin Active stated that in that video, the reason that he was at the house when the shooting took place.

 

Dino Mauro (23:27.49)

is because it was his current girlfriend and that's the reason it happened. That's the reason he was there. But the Telegram channel that they also use, so they're on Discord, they're on Telegram, the Telegram chat channels, the Justin Active and Tongue, both frequent, and they have hundreds to thousands of members each. And some of the more interesting solicitations that they had were offered for in -person assignments, tasks that can be found in one said, if you live near or.

 

IRL job, I think was the acronym in real life job, right? They want somebody to go do it in real life is what they're looking for. Got it. Holy cow. So when they're so like in for those that are able to see the video, you have some you got some things pinned. Is this from Telegram or is this from that's from Telegram? Yep. Yeah. So it talks about walk us through what what you're seeing there. Really? That's they're looking for a specific individual. They're giving

 

the town and street that he runs on, they said they need someone to run his house, run through his house or brick it and I will pay 1500 to 2000. With cryptocurrency. So they're looking for people that's back to that in real life. You know, if you live near, here's a quick 2000 if you'll go brick his house. So these are like classified ads almost that

 

advertising for violence as a service, right? Yes, exactly. These brickings where someone is hired to visit a specific address and talk, toss a brick through the target's window. So yeah, you're right. I see that it says if you live near Edmonton, Canada, DM me need somebody bricked. So that was a telegram message from May 31st, 2022. And then here's another one that will show the listeners that are watching the video. If you live near and then they put the address in in Lakewood, California.

 

direct message me at, and they put their address, paying $3 ,000 to slash the tires of somebody. Right? So, you know, and if you live near here and can brick them, DM me as well here in Richland, Virginia. Reads the same thing, just the exact same day. That's really, really brutal. Yeah. So there's a lot to take away there, but those involved in paying others to commit these physical acts.

 

Dino Mauro (25:49.568)

our frequent participants in several other telegram channels focus singularly on sim swapping activities. So that seems to be where the environment is. That's what these guys are getting together in these right. They're talking about sim swap. Right. And as a result, vast majority of these people being targeted for brickings and other real life physical assaults tend to be other cyber criminals involved in the sim swapping like they're going after each other now. Wow. Yeah. And there's there's dozens of sim swappers.

 

The thing is, most of them are like teenage or 20 something, but they're millionaires from these SIM swappings by virtue of having stolen just vast sums of cryptocurrencies from SIM swapping victims. And I know David, you took personal interest in one of those perpetrators, the old baby al Capone. How do you not wanna reach - I know you went deep down a rabbit hole on that one. Tell us what you found at the end of the rabbit

 

So this is a great story. So this kid, Alice Pinsky, is a suburban kid in the suburbs outside New York, New Jersey. And he's the son of a physician, relatively affluent area, pretty normal kid, plays sports. All of a sudden, he is smack daddy rich, like rich beyond belief. Like he's launching private jets. He's throwing lavish parties. He bought

 

$300 ,000 car. He is throwing these these taking private jets all over the United States and it all started back when he was 15 years old from his bedroom. So here's what happened at the center of this cybercrime is Michael Turpin. And if you don't know who Michael Turpin is, he's a pioneer. He's world famous. He's a pioneer and uber successful cryptocurrency investor and advisor.

 

worth hundreds of millions of dollars. He's one of the very first guys that made money in crypto, right? Very well respected, has started a lot of excellent businesses. He's a serial entrepreneur. He's recognized as a top five advisor in blockchain and cryptocurrency and one of the top 100 people in blockchain in the world. He's big. He knows what he's doing. He even moved to Puerto Rico from the United States simply because of

 

Dino Mauro (28:14.2)

preferential tax platform for cryptocurrency income. how is he involved in some type of cyber criminal activity or event? Well, you know, look, this gets back to our conversations on our other episodes. Unlike years ago when we had our physical world and we had our digital world, right? Everything we do has a digital component now. Everything, right? And if we're able to take, if someone's able to take control,

 

over our phones for an hour or two, our whole world turns upside down. And here's proof. This guy who has the best money can buy, right? Had it happen to him. So let's rewind to June 11th, 2017. June 11th, 2017. Mr. Turpin discovers that his AT &T cell phone, right, has been hacked.

 

Right. His phone suddenly goes dead. He can't get texts. He can't get phone calls. He can't make calls. His phone went dead. So he gets in touch with AT &T and he finds out a couple of days later that his AT &T password had been changed remotely after 11 attempts in AT &T stores had failed. So somebody had gone into AT &T stores to kind of reset the password and mess with that phone

 

So they did enough research to find out what his cell phone number was. And then they went into TNT stores and tried to manipulate that way. When that failed, they got it done remotely. So they were trying to do a SIM swap? Is that what they were trying to do? They were trying to over control of his phone because what's on your phone? Your email, people keep passwords, people access from our phones, we're able to access company.

 

systems, platforms, all of that, right? Our banking information. You can control someone's phone and your phone becomes them. They become you. So if you can become a multimillionaire for a couple hours and have access to them for a couple hours, think of what you can do. Right. And that's what they did. So this is June 11th, 2017. By obtaining control over Mr. Turpett's phone, the hackers at that time diverted his personal information.

 

Dino Mauro (30:38.902)

including all of his telephone calls and text messages to get access to accounts that use telephone numbers as a means of verification for multi -factor authentication. So they want to go log into his cryptocurrency accounts as other accounts. it takes multi -factor authentication. Go ahead. Send me a text. Good. I've control your phone. Go ahead. Send me that text. Wow. They've got it right there. Right. The hackers also use the phone to hijack Mr. Turpin Skype account to

 

They were then able to steal at that time, this is June 11th, 2017, several hundred thousand dollars worth of cryptocurrency, which again is non -traceable. Once you have the private keys of cryptocurrency, right, you own it. You own it. There's no other trace of it. I've got the private keys, it's my money, right? Whoever finds it, whoever has those keys, owns it. That's the whole point of cryptocurrency.

 

Fast forward then so that that's what happened after that. Turpin who's got a lot of power and very bright. goes OK I want special I want a special pin. I want to make sure this never happens again AT &T you better secure me. They give him this special pin all this stuff right. So it's a pin that only he knows. Fast forward about six months later. Not that much later on January 7th 2018. First one was in June 11th 2017.

 

January 7th, 2018, Mr. Turpin's phone with AT &T, why he didn't go to a different... Switch carriers, right? maybe it kind of makes sense to stay because they walked through that they don't want this to happen. don't imagine, right? because it's not good for anybody. And so they gave him special security. They gave him the special pin, all this. Well, January 7th, 2018, it happens again. His AT &T wireless number goes

 

no. Yeah. my God. This time, all of his incoming texts and phone calls are sent to a device that the hackers control. Armed with that access, they were able to go through all of his emails, all of his crypto exchange accounts, right? And they weren't able to see that much or gain access to it until they went through some of the folders and then they found the Holy Grail. What did find? All of

 

Dino Mauro (33:04.526)

private keys for his cryptocurrency. no. And all while they were doing this, it was like an afternoon that they had control over his phone. It was it, right? During that time, Michael Turbin and his wife were on the phone with AT &T and they're trying to get his phone to work and they had promised him before they had the top level safeguards on. They have this pin. What's going on? Well, that pin wasn't even needed because the hackers got around

 

They had bribed a store employee in Connecticut. Oh, no. Yeah. And with those private keys, the hackers were able to steal his cryptocurrency. Since cryptocurrency fluctuates widely at the time on this day, January 7th or 8th of 2018, it was worth guess how much? A couple million? This year old kid who takes control over somebody very big, over somebody's phone.

 

for just a few hours, right? $24 million. Ouch, ouch. And all, and then after that, they try and cover their tracks, they reset all of his passwords on everything, right? And they gained exclusive access. So essentially by sim swapping, they controlled his entire digital life. And the hackers were, there's two main ones that are in play. There were a couple others.

 

that they found through all of these chats. They're always kind of hard to decipher. But one of the guys was this Nick Trulia, who was like in his 20s. And the main ringleader, the mastermind behind it all was Ellis Pinsky. All this is alleged. Wait a minute, the 15 year old? Yeah, the 15 year old. That's why they call him Baby Al Capone. But check this out, over the next year, Baby Al Capone starts telling everybody, yeah, I'm trading Bitcoin. I'm trading Bitcoin.

 

I'm actually really good at trading, buying and selling Bitcoin because cryptocurrency fluctuates so high. He spends millions of dollars on custom watches, clothes, really expensive cars. He hires paid escorts. Check out the picture that we're showing for the viewers of the video. We got pictures of him with

 

Dino Mauro (35:27.246)

parties with like really expensive champagne. He's living large. They're throwing their renting private jets going to Vegas, all the stuff. Now, if my kid did that, I'd be like, what do you what? Like, what are you doing? What's going on? Well, he was really good. He was very persuasive. And he was able to say, look, I'm trading Bitcoin. Nobody understands Bitcoin. The average person doesn't understand it. Right. And he's able to say, I'm this, you know, he was very well liked in school, you know, and it's really brought out an ugly

 

And he's, know, he really kind of developed this, this reputation and it kind of got to him. He got, went to his head. He started talking on online and in person, like I could buy you, I could do this, things like that. So let's fast forward a little bit. How'd the kid get caught? Right? Like how do you, do you get caught here? Right? So the truth is, is baby Al Capone never got caught. He kind of turned himself

 

So and and later on, this was a couple of years ago. So as he's turned 18, Michael Turpin waited until he was 18 and sued him and sued him in civil court because baby Al Capone actually was never charged with a crime. He's never been charged with this, but he does face a seventy five and seventy four million dollar lawsuit from Michael Turpin because he's saying this was part of a criminal conspiracy.

 

Similar to the Rico act that was designed to go after organized crime. So he could sue for more than the initial damage. Yeah, three times, trouble damages. mean, Rico wasn't even designed to go after that, but it's been used for that. And Nick Trulia, the 20 -something guy, he's kind of the reason why all this fell apart on the criminal end. He used to boast about all of the sim swaps and he lived a lavish lifestyle and he got busted actually for an unrelated crime. And during

 

crime when things came out from that arrest, they found his communications to baby Al Capone. Okay, and when baby Al Capone found out about that, right? It kind of went to the his parents didn't know parents are like what and and and people were like things are coming out involving your son. He's not a Bitcoin trader and they like went to a lawyer in town and in in or in New York and the lawyer goes we're going into the we're going into the fence. You want to turn yourself

 

Dino Mauro (37:56.622)

You're going to give it all back. You're going to tell them everything. Well, part of the problem too is by then a lot of it was spent and then B the value of fluctuation in the value of it by the time they got the crypto back. It wasn't worth as much as you're right. Right. Right. Think of the lost profits that turpin lost by being able to trade it during the time during the spikes and things. So what happened was is Nick Trulia, who's the guy in the 20 something.

 

He was arrested on November 14th, 2018 on suspicion of using SIM swaps to steal approximately $1 million worth of cryptocurrency from a different Silicon Valley executive. And in a bond hearing for that crime, evidence of his texts and his social media posts came out. And we'll show on the video for those that can see it. He would post, he would send tweets out, something

 

stole 24 million, still a failure in the eyes of the world. my gosh. Stole 24 million, still can't stop stealing. These are tweets. He's not the sharpest knife in the drawer. there's a text between him and his father and multiple friends where he brags about $24 million hack that happened on the day of Turpin's theft. And then he was allegedly offering to take friends to the Super Bowl with

 

porn star escorts. bragged to a friend who is a 25 year old private jet broker named Chris David, who went to his apartment and he could never figure out what this Nick Trulia guy did. He had all this money and he was really kind of arrogant and lost, he said. was like, he would sit there and say that he did stuff, but I would show up, he'd be asleep at two o 'clock in the afternoon. I didn't know what he did, but he saw, he physically saw that Trulia had.

 

the money. had the cryptocurrency. He had two thumb drives called Trezors, T -R -E -Z -O -R -S, and he saw over 40 million dollars. allegedly showed it to him. I don't know if any of that's true. We're going to find out. We're going to just keep following it. But he said he initially explained that his wealth saying that he made the money by mining cryptocurrencies. But they say this Chris David gentleman says that later truly a later

 

Dino Mauro (40:19.15)

admitted that he stole the funds. That's all alleged. We don't know. But this is what the research is showing. So when all the evidence came out of the communications between Trulia and Baby Al Capone, at the center was that Westchester teen, Pinsky. And then papers were filed May 7th of that year in Manhattan Federal Court by Turpin under the Rico statute for $74 million. They had waited till he was 18 years old and they coined Ellis Pinsky as an evil

 

And what's shocking like to neighbors and classmates. He went to Irvington High School. He was an ordinary 10th grader who ran track, played soccer, loved cool sneakers and got good grades. You know, he lived in an affluent area, right? The home there was valued at like 1 .3 million that his mom was a physician. He used to play first person shooter games, Counter -Strike and Call of Duty. But there was one thing unusual about him and one of the insiders there.

 

the research reports. He had originally wrote to one of the acquaintances by text on Discord. could buy you and your family. I have over a hundred million dollars. Right. And so the lawsuit that's pending today is Turpin's efforts to get that money back. He believes that Ellis still has access to a lot of that money that he didn't in fact turn a lot of it

 

Pretty shocking and all of this is in these chat rooms on the dark web. Right. Where it seems to be the connecting piece. Right. Well, and what else happens is there's a common thread here between that and the gaming community where a lot of these guys meet the communications by discord and by telegram and things through the dark web. And there's a direct correlation there between that and swatting. So what is swatting? Maybe explain

 

So yeah, so video games tend to be like the gateway to these crimes, right? And the chats on Telegram and Discord and through the dark web then have led some that have criminal intent to move the chats over to the dark web. And that's where some of the swatting stories are coming from. So one of the main swatting stories that's out there, it happened in 2017, happened in Wichita, Kansas.

 

Dino Mauro (42:44.47)

A guy playing Call of Duty makes a wager for a dollar fifty and unfortunately, a innocent bystander, right, winds up shot and killed in real life. So here's what happened. So they were playing Call of Duty. They're chatting and Call of Duty. You know how they get very like excited and they're swearing at each other. They're doing stuff while they're playing this. This is this battle. It's a wager for a buck fifty.

 

Well, in Call of Duty, the guy accidentally shoots the wrong target and loses the game, right? He loses to this person that uses the username SWAT -istic, right? SWAT -istic. Okay. And so then these guys get involved and what they do is they want to SWAT the guy. So what SWATting is, it's when you call SWAT on somebody. It's when you call in

 

false threat on somebody. What happens here is they're talking, right, online and all of a sudden one of them says, well, what's the weather like in your town? And people freak out because you're supposed to be anonymous. You're online gaming. How do they know where you live? You don't tell them where you live. Right. How do they call the Because they're able to run programs.

 

Right? You don't know who you're talking to when you get online. They're able to run programs to detect your IP address and to locate your IP address. So they were able to find out where the person was. So here's what happened. And in this instance, it was really tragic. It happened on December 28th, 2017. It was a fatal swatting incident and occurred in Wichita, Kansas. So during this online dispute between a gentleman named Casey Viner and Shane

 

While playing the video game Call of Duty WW2, Viner threatened to have Caskell swatted. So what has Caskell done? He responds by saying, dare you. And he gives a address, a false physical address to his house. One that was occupied by a guy named Andrew Finch who doesn't know these guys. He's not involved in the online gaming community. He's not involved in playing this game.

 

Dino Mauro (45:13.432)

He doesn't know them. He just lives in Wichita, Kansas. That's it, right? He gives them a random address and then Viner then gets on the dark web and engages Tyler Barris, this third party, right? To make a required fraudulent call to initiate the swatting, which taught police respond to that address, right? And as Tyler Barris,

 

is staying on the phone. He's not just calling the cops and calling in a fake bomb. Right. What's he doing? He's impersonating people that are in the house saying, I have a gun. I'm going to shoot the cops as soon as they enter. while. So as the police respond and as Andrew Finch, the innocent bystander who does not know these people, has no idea what's happening, he opens up his door. He's blown away by police. Yeah.

 

because just as he was exiting the house, police officer Justin Rapp fatally shoots him. He dies. Man. All over a $1 .50. A $1 .50 bet. So they eventually track them down due to their bragging about the sweating event. They ultimately arrest them both, but Andrew Fincher loses his life, right? He had no involvement in any of this. Complete innocent bystander.

 

whose just random address was given in this slide. this could, I mean, look, this could have happened to any one of us, one of us, any one us anywhere in the world when these dark web chats happen and they threaten violence as a service, right? And they give random addresses. Any one of us can be harmed. So for his part, what happened in this incident is Barris pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

 

So in March last year, Tyler Barris was sentenced to 20 years in federal custody. Wow. Viner was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment and two years supervised release for his involvement. While Shane Gaskell's sentencing hearing is still pending. Officer Rapp, the officer who was relying on what they were saying, right? It was very, very detailed. They said, I'm going to open this door. I'm going to reach up. And as soon as I raised my hand,

 

Dino Mauro (47:39.79)

I'm gonna shoot. So the officers at the time, what the research is showing, nobody believed that they actually were at fault because they didn't know, they were literally being told alive, I'm gonna do this. And what happened is, when SWAT comes, all of the lights are on. So they swarm the house, the guy opens the door and he goes like this, he leans up with his hand by his eyes to see, and that's what they said he was gonna do. And soon as he did that, they thought he was raising a gun and they fired. Unbelievable.

 

Well, you know what the real scary part is, is that the same forms that we've been talking about used for the sim swapping are now being used for this violence as a service. Yeah, that's exactly right. You know, and what our our research has found our dark web researchers, many of these same individuals are finding these communities like like Telegram that can be leveraged to hire physical harassment and intimidation of their rivals and competitors, just like we've talked about in these real true life cases.

 

You know, in the only primary barrier for them to hire someone, you know, primarily due to their age, to brick someone home or slash their tires seems to be the cost involved. Because other than that, there's no barrier. I mean, like a physical attack, what did the research find? $3 ,000 upon proof of successful completion. $3 ,000 to have somebody attacked. You know, and our fear is this violence as a service offerings will at some point...

 

migrate outside of this sim swapping communities because this is just happening just now. This is taking place in real time and I don't think and David, I know we've talked about it that it's it's not a far leap for this to grow further and other people start using this violence as a service for other nefarious deeds and tasks. It's just it's a bad thing and people need to be aware. Yeah, and think about this like it's why cyberbullying happens, right? Somebody regardless of their physical stature or their physical ability.

 

can get very mean online because they don't have to see the person, right? And these agreements can happen. When they happen on the dark web, they're anonymous, right? They're all hidden behind different layers. And that's really where the risk here comes in. And this is precisely what happened with swatting, which for years was a crime that was committed almost exclusively just against online gamers in retaliation, where people streaming their games online. And these days, these swatting attacks

 

Dino Mauro (50:04.366)

commonly used by SIM swapping groups as a way to harass and extort normal people or normal people that are getting online into giving up their social media accounts. Because when you have somebody's social media account, you have access to it. There's a lot of power and money that can be made on the dark web quickly. We're going to get into another true cybercrime story in one of the upcoming episodes. That is just absolutely shocking. And it is a perfect example

 

like brazen attempts, attempts to capitalize against celebrities and really leverage this. There's a lot of money at stake. There's a lot of involvement with sim swapping, as well as all the things that we've been talking about. And it's really a form of extortion. And we're gonna get into the story of Plug Walk Joe. Yeah, stay tuned for the story of Plug Walk Joe. Yeah, who's recently been indicted. - David, this was all really helpful. I hope this enlightens some of the listeners and attendees online.

 

This is what's going on. This is what we see. This is happening. Like I said, the first story was just a couple of months ago. The case is still going on in several of these. So please pay attention. Please take heed and please always be self -aware in your surroundings. Thank Thank you everybody for listening and our next episode will start

 

Dino Mauro (51:26.36)

Well that wraps this up. Thanks for joining everybody. Hope you got value out of digging deeper behind the scenes of security and cybercrime today. Please don't forget to help keep this going by subscribing free to our YouTube channel at Cybercrime Junkies podcast and download and enjoy all of our past episodes on Apple and Spotify podcasts so we can continue to bring you more of what matters. This is Cybercrime Junkies and we thank you for joining us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shocking new stories you won’t believe. We cover behind-the-scenes of some new-breaking stories including Swatting, SIM Swaps, Crypto thefts, and Dark Web Violence-For-Hire. See how to protect yourself today with top security tips we all want to know.

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Introduction: Crossing the Line in Technology News
The Dark Side of Online Gaming
Exploring the Dark Web
Sim Swapping and Violence as a Service
Swatting
Sim Swapping and Cyber Criminals
Phone Hacking and the Story of Michael Turpin
The Million Dollar Theft and Cover-Up
Swatting as a Tool for Harassment and Extortion
Importance of Awareness and Vigilance