Cyber Crime Just Keeps On Growing

The persistent rise in cyber crime seems unstoppable and there have been many well-publicised large scale attacks in recent months. Online crime isn’t going away and cyber criminal activity is one of the biggest challenges that society will face in the next two decades. If cyber criminals continue operating at their current rate, then, by 2025, some researchers suggest that global cyber crime costs will reach $10.5 trillion by 2025

It is very difficult to catch cyber criminals and in a number of countries cyber crime is not an offence. Of the crime rate in the UK, 50% of it is cyber crime, but police reduction of this type of crime is very low at 0.1. This is because Police resources are not fully IT responsible and a lot of the crime is created overseas making it very difficult for the local police to engage and operate and its the same situation to many other countries' police operations.

Cyber criminals are using social engineering, phishing, identity theft, spam emails, malware, ransomware and whaling to compromise their targets. The global cost of cyber crime is estimated to reach $6 trillion by 2022, a massive increase from the 2015 estimate of $500 billion.Cyber crime costs include damage and destruction of data, stolen money, lost productivity, theft of intellectual property, theft of personal and financial data, fraud, post-attack disruption to the normal course of business, forensic investigation, restoration and deletion of hacked data and reputational harm

LockFile is a new ransomware that has appeared in July 2021 following the discovery in April 2021 of the ProxyShell vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange servers. LockFile ransomware appears to exploit the ProxyShell vulnerabilities to breach targets with unpatched, on premises Microsoft Exchange servers, followed by a PetitPotam NTLM relay attack to seize control of the domain. 

According to researchers at Sophos this novel approach, which they call “intermittent encryption,” helps the ransomware to avoid triggering a red flag because the new encryption method looks statistically very similar to the unencrypted original. This is the first time that Sophos researchers have seen this approach used in ransomware. Indeed, cyber criminals are harnessing the latest emerging technology and are forever changing techniques in order to make their crimes more effective, faster and adaptable to current safety measures. This makes it very hard for investigators and cyber security teams to identify evidential artifacts and the methodology. This is demonstrated by the way malicious bots impersonate genuine users to unlock security systems.                                                  

From attacking individuals and demanding $100-$200/person a decade ago, cyber criminals in 2017 demonstrated that they could bring down entire organisations

Cyber criminals are always probing software and hardware for security vulnerabilities for as long as computers have existed. However, the discovery and exploitation of security holes used to be an exhaustive process, hackers had to patiently explore different parts of a system or application until they found an opportunity. 

Now, hackers can enlist the services of machine-learning AI bots to automate the process. The result has been a technology-powered increase in cyber crime. Nation states are now deeply involved and it has become far more impactful to attack corporate entities and governments.

With large industries being attacked, federal agencies and politicians are beginning to take a stand on cyber crime and there is a scramble to address the problem because ordinary people are being affected by this in much larger numbers than ever before. 

Emerging technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing, are now a part of our everyday lexicon. Such technologies may be a doorway to a more cost effective and efficient future for the business world.

These technologies can also provide avenues for cyber criminals to commit larger, more rewarding and potentially more sophisticated cyber crimes.

KPMG:   Cyber Security Ventures:   Sophos:   Herjevac Group:    Economic Times:   Acedemia:   Evalian:

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