Based on information from the US Intelligence, the most dangerous threat facing the population today is not terrorism — but cybercrime. In the amount of time it’ll take you to read this article, more than 4,000 new viruses and malware programs will have been deployed into cyberspace.

That’s why it’s crucial for businesses to pursue reliable I.T. infrastructure support in South Jersey and the rest of the Delaware Valley. Below, we expose the tricks of cybercriminals, the tools they use and how they get away with it.

1. How Prevalent is Cybercrime?

In 2014, close to 1 billion files were accessed worldwide due to cyber attacks, and a staggering 47% of Americans had personal information stolen. Chances are you’re already a victim of cybercrime.

But it’s not just individuals at risk; the US Department of Defense deals with about 100,000 cyberattacks per day. And 58% of corporate PCs are affected by one or more malware infections.

Considering cybercrime costs the global economy up to half a trillion dollars every year — which is equivalent to the world’s illegal drugs trade — it’s clear stolen data can  be converted into piles of cash.

2. Bulletproof Hosting

Thousands of individuals, companies, and government entities use bulletproof web-hosting services to prevent their websites from being encroached upon by hackers, and to also store data securely and privately.

However, these types of services are often used by cybercriminals, as well, to anonymously manage malware, botnets, spam, and host illegal data. One web-hosting service provider, McColo, was responsible for two-thirds of all spam on the internet before it was taken down in 2008.

Moreover, the Russian Business Network required that customers commit cybercrime before being given permission to use their service. This group is suspected of running the Storm botnet that infected almost 50 million computers worldwide, and formed an army of zombie computers under their control.

In 2007, this Botnet was strong enough to take an entire country offline by bombarding its network with traffic.

3. The Cyberworld’s Most Wanted Criminal

Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev is the world’s most wanted cybercriminal. Thus, the FBI has placed a $3 million bounty on his head to uncover information that leads to his arrest.

Known online as ’lucky12345,’ Bogachev’s strategy consists of misleading people in such a way that encourages them to install a trojan program called “Gameover ZeuS.” This program is used to steal bank details, passwords and other sensitive data.

At this point, it has now spread to over one million computers, earning ’lucky12345’ a hefty pile of cash that adds up to more than $100 million. There are also claims that the hacker has installed ransomware in a police station in Massachusetts.

Ransomware is a strain of malware that prevents users from gaining access to their files and requires a ransom payment to lift the lock. The police station ended up paying the amount due so they could get back into their database of mugshots.

Russia doesn’t send accused criminals to other countries, however, so there’s a slim chance that Bogachev will ever have his day in court on US soil. Protect against ransomware by partnering with a top-of-the-line I.T. solutions company in Philadelphia, or any other large city for that matter.

4. Internet Laws Are Not Uniform Around the Globe

Nearly 70% of cybercrime begins in one country and ends in another, which makes it very complicated for authorities to catch criminals. What is illegal in one country might not fall under illegal acts somewhere else.

A UN report reveals that dispatching spam was not a criminal violation in 63% of countries, including Russia, India and Brazil. This means those countries are disregarding the fact that spam is typically a host for dangerous code designed to track users, steal data or install malware.

A lack of universal laws spanning across the globe presents a slew of obstacles when authorities try to hold spammers accountable in places like the US or UK, which have both outlawed spam since 2003.

5. The Great Deception

Although it’s the biggest contributor of illegal file sharing in the world, the Pirate Bay is still operating after more than ten years online. But how?

In 2006 authorities raided its offices and confiscated its servers; however, after only three days, it was back up and running since it developed a widespread network of servers. Unfortunately, shutting down one server wouldn’t make much of an impact on the site’s operation.

Then, in 2007 Pirate Bay attempted — yet failed — to purchase the micronation of Sealand. This would have allowed them to establish a country of their own, without any copyright laws.

Instead, they shifted course and sent their operations up in the cloud. Now, their servers operate on over 20 virtual machines. This type of deception eliminates the risk of a police raid. As for the providers, they have no clue they’re hosting the Pirate Bay.

6. Unrestricted Freedom

Many journalists — including WikiLeaks — often use the online anonymity offered through bulletproof hosters to dodge state censorship. However, that same freedom can be wielded by terrorists to commit devastating crimes.

One service referred to as CloudFlare has been reportedly used by ISIS to secure terrorist sites. A US government hearing acknowledged that two out of three of ISIS’s most popular chat rooms are shielded by CloudFlare.

The hacktivist group, Anonymous, claims that ISIS is using this service to guard nearly 40 terrorist websites designed for message boards, propaganda and terror training.

It was reported that cyber-terrorist attacks by ISIS have resulted in access to the phone numbers of the heads of the FBI, CIA and NSA. The group has even tried to hack and shut down the US power grid.

7. The Nuclear Option

Nowadays, governments are constantly fighting cybercrime. But many of them also use it to their advantage through espionage and warfare. One of the most notorious examples is a piece of malware called Stuxnet, which was installed on computers in Iran and deployed from servers in Denmark and Malaysia.

Thought to have been developed by Isreal and the US, this worm sabotaged Iran’s nuclear program — but it was disguised to seem like a series of accidents. The cyberweapon was responsible for destroying 20% of Iran’s centrifuges, which ruined their ability to produce nuclear material.

8. The Dark Web

The anonymity of the Dark Web has commonly been used by cybercriminals determined to cash in on cybercrimes. Out of all the listings on the Dark Web, 9% of them are fraudulent. Stolen card detail can sell for as little as $5, while logins for a $20,000 bank account can be purchased for only $1,200.

Even so, the illegal drugs trade is of greater concern, as it’s responsible for over 15% of all Dark Web sites. One site called “The Silk Road” netted owner Ross Ulbricht $80 million in commission from a whopping $1.2 billion worth of sales. Additional services on the site included hackers for hire, firearm distribution and hitmen. Fortunately, it was shut down in 2013.

Protect the sensitive information stored on your network with the help of managed I.T. consultants in South Jersey, or any of its surrounding areas.

9. Carbanak – The Progression of Cybercrime

Chances are you haven’t heard of Carbanak, but it’s responsible for the greatest Cyberheist in history. The hacks stole $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 Carbanak malware let the gang record what happened on the screens of banking staff. After months of studying behavior, they would transfer money to their own accounts or order ATMs to dispense cash at predetermined times. In a single raid, they were capable of stealing up to $10 million.

Carbanak marked the beginning of a new era of cybercrime — one that focuses on the banks directly, rather than going after individual customers. Ensure your network remains safe by requesting managed network services near Central Jersey, or wherever else you may be located.

10. The Internet of Hacked Things

In the past, cybercrime has been directed towards computers and cell phones. But now with “the internet of things,” everyday objects are increasingly susceptible to attacks. Believe it or not, baby monitors have been hacked, allowing strangers to spy on and even speak to little children.

One couple reported hearing inappropriate noises coming from the monitor watching over their 2-year daughter. Moreover, in 2015 students at the University of Alabama found a way to hack pacemakers. This gave them control of a person’s heart rate and the ability to regulate its speed until the person died.

Comparable research revealed that a Wi-Fi enabled sniper rifle could have its aiming system hijacked by unintended users. These findings suggest that the world’s first cyber-murder might take place sooner than we think.

The Last Word

There’s no doubt that the internet can be a very scary place. Yet, by implementing the proper security measures, you’ll dramatically reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of cybercrime. Build a wall around your network, prepare for the unexpected and block out hackers by partnering with an I.T. solutions company near Philadelphia, like Shock I.T. Support!