Industrial espionage: increasing part of cyber attacks

The time when hacking and cracking were occasional free time activities of solitary guys has passed. According to Mark Sunner of the MessageLabs, cyber crimes became a job for organized gangs since the year 2003. The tendency to combine efforts is still popular and it’s a big threat for everyone that has internet connection. Apparently, big money circulates on this field; there’s even an internet black market for selling/buying stolen data and hacking tools.

We hear about phishing almost everyday. If you use email, you probably receive several messages a day that ask you to help cousin in Nigeria, take lottery winning or verify your details on online bank you’ve never used. A bunch of deceptive emails messages are sent to random emails every day, but this tendency steps back to the shadows as cyber attacks become more targeted and personalized. One of the biggest tendencies is the industrial espionage. Modern attackers target executives for the big prize and leave other employees alone. Imagine what kind of information a CEO keeps in his/hers computer. Work drawings, patents, advertising tactics and much more – all these things have a great price on the black market. No businessman (or woman) gives away this information on purpose, so how criminals can steal it? Emails usually contain malicious attachments that install a trojan once opened. A second of curiosity and a spyware is on the computer. According to MessageLabs, another tactic is popular as well: emails contain link to malicious website that infect computers secretly. Both strategies are widespread because of their efficiency.

The range of executives targeted attacks increases significantly. While only several infected emails of billions were dedicated to high ranking officers two years ago, by the last year, the numbers grew up to 10 messages for single person a day. And the statistics of this year is surprisingly higher: 514 executives and their assistants were targeted in a single day in June, and this number grew double in September. Increasing attacks requires higher cyber security standards inside companies. Business people should take computer safety seriously in order to prevent cyber attacks.


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