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News

IT criminal commercial model shifts to higher levels of organisation

Finjan Software : 15 July, 2008  (Technical Article)
Web trends report from Finjan for the second quarter of 2008 focuses on the activities of cyber criminal organisations and their hierarchical organisational structures
Finjan has announced the latest findings by its Malicious Code Research Centre (MCRC). In its latest trends report for Q2 2008, the MCRC identifies and analyses the latest Crimeware business operations, and provides a first-of-its-kind insider's look at the organisational structure of Cybercrime organisations. It all makes the cybercrime more successful and profitable than ever.

The report includes real documented discussions conducted by Finjan's researchers with resellers of stolen data and their "bosses", confirming Finjan's analysis of the current state of the cybercrime economy.

"Over the course of the last 18 months we have been watching the profit-driven Cybercrime market maturing rapidly. It has evolved into a booming business, operating in a major shadow economy with an organisational structure that closely mimics the real business world. This makes businesses today even more vulnerable for cybercrime attacks, especially considering the maturity of the cybercrime market and its well-structured cybercrime organisations," said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, Finjan's CTO. "Recent industry reports containing record numbers of malware infections during the first half of 2008 alone underline again the huge impact of cybercrime on today's businesses."

The report explores the trend of loosely organised clusters of hackers trading stolen data online being replaced by hierarchical cybercrime organisations. These organisations deploy sophisticated pricing models, Crimeware business models refined for optimal operation, Crimeware drop zones, and campaigns for optimal distribution of the Crimeware.

These cybercrime organisations consist of strict hierarchies, in which each cybercriminal is rewarded according to his position and task.

The "boss" in the cybercrime organisation operates as a business entrepreneur and does not commit the cybercrimes himself. Directly under him is the "underboss", acting as the second in command and managing the operation. This individual provides the Trojans for attacks and manages the Command and Control (C&C) of those Trojans. "Campaign managers" reporting to the underboss lead their own attack campaigns. They use their own "affiliation networks" as distribution channels to perform the attacks and steal the data. The stolen data is sold by "resellers", who are not involved in the Crimeware attacks themselves.

"In our report we provide a closer look at today's cybercrime enemy, indicating how it organises, operates and benefits from stolen data. We unveil the business cycle of data collecting and trading by today's cybercriminals, said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CTO of Finjan. "We also show examples of the highly effective tools and methods that are being used to steal data from enterprises around the world."
As a preventative measure, businesses should look closely at their security practices to make sure they are protected. A layered security approach is a highly effective way of handling these latest threats, and applying innovative security solutions, such as real-time content inspection, designed to detect and handle them is a key factor is being adequately protected.
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