‘The Manipulaters’ Improve Phishing, Still Fail at Opsec

Roughly nine years ago, KrebsOnSecurity profiled a Pakistan-based cybercrime group called “The Manipulaters,” a sprawling web hosting network of phishing and spam delivery platforms. In January 2024, The Manipulaters pleaded with this author to unpublish previous stories about their work, claiming the group had turned over a new leaf and gone legitimate. But new research suggests that while they have improved the quality of their products and services, these nitwits still fail spectacularly at hiding their illegal activities.

In May 2015, KrebsOnSecurity published a brief writeup about the brazen Manipulaters team, noting that they openly operated hundreds of web sites selling tools designed to trick people into giving up usernames and passwords, or deploying malicious software on their PCs.

Manipulaters advertisement for “Office 365 Private Page with Antibot” phishing kit sold on the domain heartsender,com. “Antibot” refers to functionality that attempts to evade automated detection techniques, keeping a phish deployed as long as possible. Image: DomainTools.

The core brand of The Manipulaters has long been a shared cybercriminal identity named “Saim Raza,” who for the past decade has peddled a popular spamming and phishing service variously called “Fudtools,” “Fudpage,” “Fudsender,” “FudCo,” etc. The term “FUD” in those names stands for “Fully Un-Detectable,” and it refers to cybercrime resources that will evade detection by security tools like antivirus software or anti-spam appliances.

A September 2021 story here checked in on The Manipulaters, and found that Saim Raza and company were prospering under their FudCo brands, which they secretly managed from a front company called We Code Solutions.

That piece worked backwards from all of the known Saim Raza email addresses to identify Facebook profiles f ..

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