Top Secrets of Cybercrime

cybercriminalAccording to the US Intelligence, the biggest threat facing us today is not the terrorism, but the cybercrime. By the time you have finished reading this article, more than 4000 new viruses, and malware programs will have been released online. So here are listed the top ten dark secrets of the cybercrime according to Internet security firmSymantec.

10. The scale of cybercrime

In 2014 alone, an estimated 1 billion data records were compromised worldwide in cyber attacks, while a whopping 47% of Americans had personal information stolen. The chances are that you’ve already been a victim of cybercrime. But it is not just individuals at risk. The US Department of Defense has to deal with over 100k attacks per day and more than 58% PCs are affected by one or more cyberware infections. All that swapped data can be turned into serious money, with cybercrime costing the global economy over $1 trillion USD per year. That is the same as the amount of money laundered through illegal drug trade worldwide.

9. Bulletproof hosting

Thousands of people, businesses, and government bodies use bulletproof hosting to store securely data and to prevent their websites from being taken down by attackers. However, such services are often exploited by cybercriminals to anonymously operate malware, botnets, spam, etc. One web hosting provider, McColo was responsible for over 1/3 of the entire internet spam and was closed in 2008. Another one, the Russian Business Network required clients to commit at least one cybercrime before being accepted into the network. They are suspected of operating the Storm botnet that infected over 50 million computers, creating an army of zombies under their control. In 2007, this Botnet was so powerful that it could have taken an entire country offline.

8. Cyber’s most wanted

Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev is the world’s most wanted cybercriminal, with $3 million bounty on his head by the FBI for information that leads to his arrest. He is known online as lucky12345, and his scheme involves tricking people into installing the trojan program Game over Zeus, which captures bank details, passwords, and other sensitive information. It has infected over 1 million computers, and Bogachev has a fortune estimated at over $100 million. He is ever reported to have installed ransomware in a police station in Massachusetts. Ransomware is a type of malware that stops users from accessing their files and demands a ransom. the station has to pay in order to regain access to files. However, as Russia doesn’t extradite accused criminals to other countries, it is unlikely that lucky12345 will ever be arrested.

7. One Internet, many laws

Some 70% of cybercrime crosses national borders which can make it difficult to arrest the perpetrators. According to UN, controlling or sending spam was not a criminal offense in 63% of countries, including India, Russia, and Brazil. This is despite the fact that spam can carry a malicious code that could potentially track a user, steal data, and install malware. The lack of consistent laws makes it difficult to bring spammers to justice in places such as the UK or the US where sending spam is illegal.

6. Catch me if you can

Despite being the biggest facilitator of illegal file sharing on the planet, the Pirate Bay continues to operate after more than a decade online. But how? In 2006, after its offices were raided and servers were taken down, it returned within three days creating a widespread network of servers. So, shutting down one would not make a difference. Then, in 2007, Pirate Bay attempted but failed to buy the micronation of Sealand so they could create their own country with no copyright laws. Instead, they moved their operations to the cloud. Their servers run over 20 servers, and virtual machines, and the providers don’t even know they are hosting the Pirate Bay. This essentially puts them beyond the reach of police raids.

5. Unrestricted freedom

The online anonymity offered by bulletproof hosters can be used by journalists to avoid state censorship. Wikileaks have utilized such services. Yet, same freedom can be exploited by terrorists. One service known as Cloudflare has been reportedly used by ISIS to protect terrorist sites. A US government hearing heard that two of the ISIS’s three biggest chat rooms were shielded by Cloudflare. According to Anonymous, ISIS is using the service to protect 40 terrorist websites devoted to propaganda, discussion, and terror training. Cyberterrorist attacks by ISIS have been reported against phone numbers of the heads of CIA, FBI, and NSA. These numbers have been made public, and the group has attempted to hack and take down the US power grid.

4. The nuclear option

While governments are often trying to fight cybercrime, may of them have an advantage through espionage and warfare. Perhaps the most famous example was a piece of malware installed on computers in Iran and operated from servers in Denmark and Malaysia. this worm thought to have been developed by Israel, was intended to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program but disguised it to look like a series of accidents. The cyberweapon ultimately destroyed 20% of Iran’s centrifuges, altering their ability to produce nuclear material.

3. The Dark Web

The untraceable anonymity of the dark web has been used by cybercriminals looking to make serious money. An estimated 9% of all listings on the Dark Web have to do with fraud. Stolen cards details can sell for as little as $5 while logins for a $20k bank account are sold for only $1,200. But the illegal drugs trade is even bigger, accounting for over 15% of all Dark Web sites. One of them, the Silk Road, netted owner Ross Ulbricht over $80 million from a whopping $1.2 billion worth of sales. Other services on the site included firearm sales, hackers for hire and even hitmen. It was shut down in 2013.

2. Carbanak, the evolution of cybercrime

Chances are most people have not heard of Carbanak, but it is actually responsible for the biggest cyberheist in history stealing over $1 billion from over 100 financial institutions around the world. And they did it all from their keyboards in Russia, Ukraine, and China between 2013 and 2015. Emails infected with this malware let the gang record what happened on the screens of banking staff. After months of studying the behavior, they would transfer money to their own accounts or ordered ATMs to give out cash at predetermined times. In a single raid, they could steal up to $10 million. It marked the beginning of a new type of cybercrime, one that targets the banks directly rather than stealing from individual customers.

1. The Internet of hacked things

Cybercrime has largely been limited to computers and cell phones, but the Internet of things will leave everyday objects open to attack. Baby memories have been hacked allowing strangers to gain control over their minds, spy, or even talk to little children. One couple discovered obscene noises coming from the monitor in front of their two years old daughter. In 2105, students at the University of Alabama were able to hack pacemakers, allowing them to control a person’s heart rate and they had the possibility to slow it down to such extent so the person would eventually die. Similar research demonstrated that a wifi enabled sniper rifle could have its aiming system taken over by unintended users.

All of this suggests tat the world’s first cybermurder might not be too far away!

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