Changing face of cybercrime
Inc has announced their findings from new research. The results reveals how
organised crime is grooming a new generation of high-flying cyber criminals
using tactics which echo those employed by the KGB (Committee for State Security,
Russia) to recruit operatives at the height of the cold war.
The second annual McAfee report into organised crime and the Internet, with
input from Europes leading hi-tech crime units and the FBI, suggests on
trends that criminal gangs are targeting top students from leading academic
institutions to provide them with the skills they need to commit hi-tech crime
on a mass scale.
Other key findings from the McAfee Virtual Criminology Report 2006 include
The Cult of Cybercrime: Cybercrime has established
a cult following with online offenders rising almost to celebrity status within
hacking communities. Specialist forums to highlight potential security issues
have also served to showcase black hat tricks and criminal opportunity.
The Malware Milkround: Organised crime is now employing
KGB-style tactics to ensnare the next generation of hackers and malware authors.
Cyber-criminals are actively approaching students and graduates of IT technology
courses to recruit a fresh wealth of cyber skill to their ranks
Inside Jobs: Taking advantage of inadequate enterprise
security procedures and policies, current and former employees, contractors
and suppliers are instigating the vast majority of hacking attacks. Cybercrooks
are sponsoring graduates with a view to gaining the lucrative insiders view
The McAfee Virtual Criminology Report 2006 further highlights on how the virtual
anonymity and stealth of attack that the online environment affords means detection
is a growing challenge for law enforcement agencies
McAfee has highlighted the following as the main threats, tools and opportunities
that organised crime is exploiting
Mind Games: Cybercriminals are increasingly resorting
to psychological warfare tactics in order to succeed. Phishing emails have increased
by approximately twenty five percent over the last year but are harder to detect
as they increasingly trick unsuspecting people with ordinary scenarios instead
of improbable ones such as sudden cash windfalls.
Social Scams: Cybercriminals are being drawn to the
huge crowds of the social networking and community sites. Loading fake profiles
and pages with adware, spyware and trojans, money making malware authors are
cashing in on their popularity. They are also collating personal information
divulged online to formulate virtual twin identities for fraudulent purposes.
Data Seepage: Data is continually exposed without
need for sophisticated attack and cybercriminals are cashing in. Password proliferation
for consumer and work devices means often simple guesswork unlocks the door;
unsecured removable media devices such as USB sticks provide an easy route for
information-transfer and increasing convergence of technologies means inadequate
security and integrated risk.
Botnets: As predicted in last years report, botnets,
robot networks of illegally linked computers that can be controlled remotely
are now the preferred method for Internet thieves to effectively execute attacks.
A Open-source criminal collaboration is also generating more robust and reliable
botnets with guaranteed ROI.
The Future: Smartphone and multifunctional mobiles
are making portable computers essential lifestyle accessories and predictions
are that cybercriminals will increasingly mine them for valuable information
in the coming months. The increasing use of bluetooth and VoIP will also lead
to a new generation of mobile hacking.
The survey further enforces us to believe on the fact that Cybercrime is no
longer in its infancy, it is big business. Criminal entrepreneurs can make fast
money with minimal risk and their ranks are growing with that realisation. With
technology continually evolving, criminal opportunity is also growing. Opportunity
that is global and unrestricted by geography, language or appearance.