Quick & Dirty: Finding the domain behind a scam E-Mail and shut it down

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Standalone tools used: TracerouteNG / FOCA / Maltego / Nmap
Online tools used: IP Tracker & Blockchain

We all know the annoying scam E-Mails which flood our mailboxes. In recent months a new scam mail popped up claiming to have filmed the victim masturbating while watching porn and that if no money is sent to a certain bitcoin wallet the video will be released.

Though the E-Mail has all the red flags in it to show that it is indeed a scam E-Mail (bad wording, no proof/facts of the video, not addressed by name of the victim) people have payed the money to various bitcoin wallets in the past.

After again receiving such an E-Mail I saw something different this time: It was not a “throw away” E-Mail address but an E-Mail address tied to an actual existing webpage/domain name called davidstephensusc.com (mail.davidstephensusc.com with an AX record also exists). So this caught my attention and I did a quick research to find out where the page is hosted and whether I can gather any additional information and check if there is a possibility to shut down the domain for good.

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Big changes are coming

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The “best” of all worlds: MacOS, Linux Parrot and Windows

Towards the end of June 2017 I will start to study again, this time for two years – the end goal is to become a IT specialist for system integration with a special focus on cyber security. Yes, this is a big change but no worries, I won`t quit journalism. But why this decision?

A) After working as a freelance Journalist since 2008 and often barely keeping my income above the poverty line I have had enough: Enough of the shitty payment; enough of late payments and rip-offs; enough of getting almost no appreciation by editors and media companies while risking my own life. Especially as struggling financially did impact the quality of my journalism – and I do not want to compromise that quality anymore

B) Becoming a IT specialist for system integration helps me to get a steady and well paying income – and thus enables me to do proper journalism. Especially as I started to focus more and more on long form / investigative reportages which needs time and money. Additionally, technology and cyber security (see the really shitty reporting about the last wikileaks) is more important than ever – with this kind of job I can enhance also my understanding on these topics and thus write about IT, cyber security etc. additionally.

C) I can finally please my inner Nerd 😉

I will keep writing for my blog as well as newspapers in the future (though there will be some design changes at my webpage to better represent my portfolio) – mainly dissecting bad journalistic pieces and in-depth reporting on different conflict zones and social/political issues. So no worries, I won`t disappear from the journalistic field – I am just taking a “break” from longer travels and refocus my goals and future.

Yours sincerely,

Benjamin Hiller

News Blues VI

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Dear readers,

In some ways, as somebody who was born in the 1980s, I feel thrown back into a time before my time: a legitimate criticism on Putin and his authoritarian system has turned into outright “Russophobia” in a McCarthy area style. And even worse, this time it is fueled by the Democrats and the liberal media itself, which gets its “intel” via leaks and intelligence agencies; yeah, those who lied about the reasons to invade Iraq and where several newspapers and politicians had to apologise afterwards.

Of course Putin was happy about the election of the bat-crazy Trump and his right-winged “America First” administration. And of course Russia was involved in some election meddling. But the Democrats and the media are now focusing solely on the supposed Trump-Putin connections and every bit of “evidence” is blown up into a full conspiracy theory. And with that the real danger for the US from domestic right-winged policies seems to go totally unnoticed.

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News Blues V

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Dear Readers,

Once again it is already Friday! Sometimes I have no clue where the days go so fast – probably running away from the world’s problems. This time I have only a few links for you – as the weather turned sunny in Berlin and therefore I’d rather spend my time outside than working in front of a computer screen.

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News Blues IV

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Dear readers,

It is Friday again and that means it is time for the News Blues. Though due to the rainy weather in Berlin it would be rather time for some proper Blues music.

Anyway, we will start off with a quote by Hanna Arendt, published in 1978 by the New York Review of books and originating from an interview from 1974. And her point about lies is more valid than ever:

“The moment we no longer have a free press, anything can happen. What makes it possible for a totalitarian or any other dictatorship to rule is that people are not informed; how can you have an opinion if you are not informed? If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer. This is because lies, by their very nature, have to be changed, and a lying government has constantly to rewrite its own history. On the receiving end you get not only one lie—a lie which you could go on for the rest of your days—but you get a great number of lies, depending on how the political wind blows. And a people that no longer can believe anything cannot make up its mind. It is deprived not only of its capacity to act but also of its capacity to think and to judge. And with such a people you can then do what you please.”

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