Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cyber criminals cash in

By Lwavela Jongilanga, Portals journalist
Johannesburg, December 2014

Buying malware is not a problem: they're easy to find, says Kaspersky Lab's Alexander Gostev.

Buying malware is not a problem: they're easy to find, says Kaspersky Lab's Alexander Gostev.
Cyber criminals could be raking in profits 20 times greater than the cost of their attacks, according to figures compiled by Kaspersky Lab experts.

The research compared the cost of the most frequently used hacker tools with the money stolen in a successful malicious operation.

According to Kaspersky, cyber criminal profits are calculated at the maximum likely yield based on 100 victims.
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The study found the profits from such malicious attacks are high considering the ammunition used to launch these attacks is relatively cheap.

"Buying malware is currently not a problem – they're easy to find on various hacker forums, and they are relatively cheap, making them attractive," says Alexander Gostev, chief security expert at Kaspersky Lab.

See also

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Kaspersky Lab
cyber crime profits

He says a cyber criminal following this illegal path doesn't even need any skills – for a fixed price, they can get an off-the-peg package to launch their attacks at will.

The study found of the banking Trojan, exploit and spam mass mailing attacks launched, the average user stands to lose $722 from their bank account with software costing the crook $3 000 and a gain of $72 200.

A mobile Trojan blocker is much more expensive, says the security solutions vendor, adding today it costs $1 000 on average to buy and distribute the malware. However, it explains, the "payoff" is also much higher. The prices the attackers set for unblocking a smartphone vary from $10 to $200, which means that from 100 potential victims they can get up to $20 000.

The same sum can be earned by using encrypting ransomware, but the "initial investment" will be twice as high – about $2 000. The users' losses will be also higher because the minimum sum of the ransom requested by the fraudsters for decrypting the data is usually $100.

Social media is also a lucrative business with hackers using $150 to set up phishing pages that pose as social media platforms linking mass spam to lure users into fraudulent Web sites.

Users need to be especially careful to ensure they don't lose their money or data, advises Gostev.

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