[New trend report] Cyberextortion, a growing industry

Florence Broderick    26 February, 2016

Download the new report that discover there is an increasing tendency towards aggression in numerous cyber-attacks, notably those using some method of extortion in particular. ElevenPaths’ Analyst team discover how to protect from this growing industry.

Computer-related crime is becoming increasingly hostile. There is an increasing tendency towards aggression in many cyber-attacks, notably those using some sort of extortion method in particular. These attacks have some psychological impact with the aim of inducing fear and uncertainty in their victims. This aggressive environment is closer to organised crime than it is to a computer-related offence.

In this regard, Security Authorities and Bodies face certain challenges in the investigation stage when it comes to law enforcement. Many operations often end up thwarted because criminals resort to tools used for the anonymity and encryption of communications. The knowledge of security in operations is high and the easy access cyber-criminals have to products and services easily accessible online, both to anonymise their activity as well as their identity, tends to complicate forensic analyses.

The main findings of the report “Cyberextortion, a growing industry” are the following:

  • Extortion via DDoS attacks is being firmly established. The modus operandi of the DD4BC group could give rise to more attackers impersonating them without the need for a great infrastructure and extensive technical knowledge. On the other hand, possible money outflows with the aim of laundering returned to the source of the extortion are the online gaming and trading platforms.
  • Security breaches are assuming a way of extortion based on the sensitivity of filtered information. Currently, two ways are being opted to monetise the attacks, either to sell the database or to extort it directly to users. The payment method required is usually Bitcoin.
  • A growing trend is sexual extortion, also known as sextortion. The sharing of files using peer-to-peer networks remains the main platform for access to child abuse material and for its distribution in a non-commercial manner. In the same way, other anonymous networks and platforms such as Tor are considered as a threat in this area. However, what worries Security Authorities and Bodies the most is the live streaming of child abuse due to the difficulty to detect and investigate it since criminals tend not to store a copy of the material.
  • Since 2015, the threat of ransomware has increased by 165%. The most reported infection vector is e-mail with malicious attachments. However, a growth is expected, driven by an increased use of the cloud, POS and the Internet of Things.

» Download the full report “Cyberextortion, a growing industry”

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