Hacker who defaced over 4,800 websites identified
Security researchers have identified the hacker who has been accredited for defacing over 4,800 websites located across the globe.
The hacker who goes by the name ‘VandaTheGod’ has been identified as an individual living in Uberlandia, Brazil. Researchers from the Israeli security firm CheckPoint said that they have alerted the law enforcement agencies regarding the hacker so that they can take necessary action against him.
Active since 2013, VandaTheGod has hacked a total of 4,820 websites across the globe. The list of his targeted countries include USA, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Argentina, Thailand, Vietnam, and New Zealand, among others.
In the past 12 months, the hacker has extensively targeted websites based in the US, which made for nearly 57% of his cyber attacks and a total of 612 websites. This was closely followed by Australia, the Netherlands and Italy with a total of 81, 56 and 53 websites being targeted respectively. Furthermore, the hacker targeted the US health sector by hacking websites for the US Health and Life, Putnam Health, National Employees Health Plan and Texas Women’s Health Services among others.
Despite his exploits, Check Point researchers believe that the hacker isn’t motivated by money but by hacktivism. “In VandaTheGod’s case, the hacker focused on social injustices and pushed messages centered around anti-government sentiments. For example, the hacker defaced a Brazilian government website with the hashtag: #PrayforAmazonia, as a response to the burnings of the Amazon rain forest allegedly carried out by the Brazilian government,” CheckPoint wrote in a blog post.
However, the hacker has also extended his activity beyond hacktivism to include credit card and personal credential theft. In one such case, the hacker attempted to breach details from public figures, universities and even hospitals.
While in most cases the hacker was trying to highlight certain issues, at the same time he was also trying to achieve a personal goal of hacking 5,000 websites. He also claimed on social media to have access to the medical records of 1 million patients from New Zealand, offering to sell each contact for $200 per record.
“Although ‘VandaTheGod’s’ motive originally seemed to be protesting against perceived injustices, the line between hacktivism and cyber-crime is thin. We often see hackers taking a similar path from digital vandalism to credentials and money theft as they develop their techniques. Revealing the person’s true identity and disclosing it to law enforcement should put an end to their extensive disruptive and criminal activities,” Check Point’s Manager of Threat Intelligence, Lotem Finkelsteen said in a statement.