Monday, July 21, 2008

Cybercrime is an Organised Business Enterprise

MAFIA : Cybercrime is an Organised Business Enterprise

Ankur Goyal with CRPCC Team

July 21, 2008

Cybercrime is being run like an organised business activity are the findings of a research done by Malicious Code Research Center of Finjan Inc., a manufacturer of secure web gateway products.

Malicious Code Research Center (MCRC) of Finjan Inc. announced the findings in its latest trends report for Q2 2008. The report identifies and analyzes the latest Crimeware business operations, and provides a first-of-its-kind insider’s look at the organizational structure of Cybercrime organizations. 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 organizational 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 organizations,” 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 organized clusters of hackers trading stolen data online being replaced by hierarchical cybercrime organizations. These organizations deploy sophisticated pricing models, Crimeware business models refined for optimal operation, Crimeware drop zones, and campaigns for optimal distribution of the Crimeware.

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

The “boss” in the cybercrime organization 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 organizes, 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.

The report can be downloaded at -



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