The IOCTA report by Europol has been recently released and it indicates a sharp rise of cyber-crime. The report is based on the economy of various cyber-criminal organizations all over the world, associated with different malware. The report also aims to inform various decision makers and raise awareness regarding the future strategy against cyber-crime of all types – online attacks, deep web markets for illegal substances, prostitution and also payment fraud and other illegal services.
Not only this, but the report also indicates that cyber-crime has begun evolving, meaning that the criminals are evolving and expanding their customer base as well. Reports indicate that now services are offered to absolutely anyone who has the capability of funding them, even militias all over the world.
The capability of cyber-attacks may not only be limited to taking down a website – it may be other services as well, such as generating revenue via affiliate networks that spread ransomware on a massive scale. The report aims to shed light on such “projects” of malicious character because such threats are not only on the top in terms of importance but they may also significantly increase in the near future.
Other subject which was taken into consideration in the report was Trojans such as POS and banking malware. Such types of threats are even more dangerous but they are also more sophisticated to execute. The primary reason for this is the fact that they target financial information of compromised computers directly, allowing criminals to directly extract funds via complicated schemes and mules.
ATM malware has also increased and the primary type of attacks were against ATM users, via skimming devices – devices that mimic the slot of the debit or credit card of the ATM but in reality extract the credentials from it.
The Dominant Payment Currency For Ransoms
According to Steven Wilson, the ransomware threat is continuing to be dominant and ever-growing and has also become organized. More and more cyber-heists are continuing to evolve against organizations such as hospitals, because they are generating higher revenue in a shorter timeframe. Regarding ransomware attacks, BitCoin still remains to be the dominant currency when it comes to payment, primarily because of the fact that it is widely used, has large capacity and mostly it is untraceable as well as anonymous. There are other services which appeared regarding ransom payoff such as Ukash and using SMS services to make a payment and the Tor network remains to be the main place for hosting ransomware, botnets and other type of malware as well.
On the upside, however, the report indicated that there are many collaborations to fight cyber-crime as well. There were also a lot of arrests of cyber-criminal gangs as a result of various collaborations of different law enforcement agencies as well as different businesses and private organizations with government agencies as well.