Cybercrime used to be for geniuses. Not anymore. Cybercrime is getting easier and easier. Cibercrime has evolved into a very lucrative business, both hacking and selling the tools to hack. They even sell you the targets you can hack. They have set up partnerships with other hackers, shared tools and have regular meetings. It’s huge business and right now, it can’t be stopped.
There was a great article in the Buffalo News last week about how a particular cybergang became a ransomware powerhouse. It talks about a ransomware gang known as the DarkSide and how it worked with hackers to attack the U.S. pipeline, disrupting gasoline and jet fuel deliveries up and down the East Coast of the United States, the group was turning the screws on a small, family-owned publisher based in the Midwest.
Cybercrime is Getting Easier
Cybercrime is getting easier for the hackers because of the availability of the tools. At one time, criminals had to play psychological games to trick people into handing over bank passwords and have the technical know-how to siphon money out of secure personal accounts, now virtually anyone can obtain ransomware off the shelf and load it into a compromised computer system using tricks picked up from YouTube tutorials or with the help of groups like DarkSide. I just can’t fathom that this stuff is readily available on YouTube! It gives the ability for just anyone to become a hacker. You don’t have to be a genius anymore. You just have to have a computer, mouse and keyboard.
Believe it or not, these cybergangs have a “helpdesk” with actual customer service. They have a portal with a dashboard. You can work with a hacker to get access and once you are in, you can “shop” for your tools and your targets. A Reporter from the New York Times actually got in and looked around. When he identified himself as a reporter, he was immediately blocked.
Even before the attack on Colonial Pipeline, DarkSide’s business was booming. According to the cybersecurity firm Elliptic, which has studied DarkSide’s Bitcoin wallets, the gang has received about $15.5 million in Bitcoin since October 2020, with another $75 million going to affiliates. This is a staggering amount of money. The sad part is, there is no end in site.
As a computer user, all you can do is be educated and hire a good security firm to manage your computer security. Stay away from unfamiliar sites, don’t click on emails that have links to places where you can add information and be very, very cautious.