What do Nigeria, Brazil, Russia, China and Vietnam have in common? According to a recent article in Time Magazine, these are the five cybercrime hotspots of the world.
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Cybercrime is costing the world an estimated $400 billion, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ recently released report, “Net Losses: Estimating the Global Cost of Cybercrime. Economic impact of cybercrime II”. This is actually a conservative estimate; CSIS believes that the figure could actually amount to as much as $575 billion.
“Studies estimate that the internet economy annually generates between $2 trillion and $3 trillion, a share of the global economy that is expected to grow rapidly. If our estimates are right, cybercrime extracts between 15% and 20% of the value created by the Internet,” reads the report.
“The Russians are at the top of the food chain when it comes to elite cyberskill hacking capabilities,” JD Sherry, vice president of technology and solutions at Trend Micro, a Tokyo-based cyber-security firm, told Time.
Just this month, a Russian hacker group stole an estimated 1.2 billion internet credentials from companies around the world, affecting 420,000 websites. The group has also gained access to 500 million email accounts that could help them engineer further crimes.
“Hackers did not just target U.S. companies. They targeted any website they could get, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to very small websites,” Alex Holden, the founder and chief information security officer of Hold Security, told The New York Times. “And most of these sites are still vulnerable.”
China has long been associated with economic espionage, including cybercrime. According to Time Magazine, these criminals are now not only found in private hacker groups but are also scattered throughout the Chinese government.
In May this year, the US charged five Chinese government officials with allegedly orchestrating cyber attacks against six major American companies. “It marks the first time the U.S. has formally charged foreign government officials for explicitly acting at the behest of a foreign government in cyber crimes,” reported Time. “The range of trade secrets and other sensitive business information stolen in this case is significant and demands and aggressive response,” Attorney General Eric Holder said, according to Time.
Brazil is being reported as an emerging cybercrime economy, with criminals learning from their East European counterparts.
According to the “Monthly Report on Online Threats in the Banking Sector”, produced by Kaspersky Lab, Brazil remains the most frequently cyber attacked country, exacerbated, of course, by hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Between 19 May – 19 June, Kaspersky Lab solutions blocked 87,776 attempts to launch malware capable of stealing money from online banking accounts. “As well as fans, the World Cup attracted cybercriminals interested in the payment details of football enthusiasts,” comments Yuri Namestnikov, Anti-Malware Expert from the Kaspersky Lab in a media release.
Nigeria is the original creator of the scam email: “Good day friend, my great uncle has left you his millions, provide me with your bank details and your inheritance will be transferred to your account. From Mr. John.”
It is now becoming a destination for international cybercrime syndicates, according to Trend Micro’s JD Sherry in Time Magazine. The “419 Evolution” report, published by Palo Alto Networks, describes this evolution. “Cyber criminals in Nigeria are using their expanded skills to steal business-critical data from enterprises rather than simply collecting credit card details or personal information from individuals through ‘419’ phishing scams,” reports International Business Times.
The IT industry in Vietnam has expanded rapidly in the last decade, giving rise to software engineers turning to the alluring world of cybercrime.
23-year-old Duy Hai Truong of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, was federally charged for his alleged involvement in an international data theft ring that caused $200 million in fraudulent charges to credit cards. According to an FBI press release, between 2007 and his arrest, “Truong allegedly defrauded financial institutions as part of the massive scheme, in which personal identifying information relating to more than 1.1 million credit cards was stolen and resold to criminal customers worldwide.”
By Heine van Niekerk, CEO, Foresight Advisory Services
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