Home WND Cyber criminals hang out ‘for hire’ shingles

Cyber criminals hang out ‘for hire’ shingles

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[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Investigations.]

By John F. Wasik
Real Clear Investigations

Want to hack your ex-spouse’s cellphone? Steal the private passwords to get dirt on your annoying neighbors? How about disrupting your business competitor’s operation, perhaps by shutting down its online network or holding data for ransom?

All of these activities are illicit and malicious, but a growing cadre of professional “black hat” hackers are providing their services to all comers. These “retail” activities, often run by sophisticated criminal networks and individuals, appear to be on the rise. Instead of offering their services in the shadows of the dark web, however, many are hanging their shingles up in plain sight, just an online search away. But they come with a caveat to the crooked emptor – the real target for these hackers is often the people who hire them.

Although precise figures on this latest form of e-commerce are unavailable, experts say the combination of the pandemic, millions of people working from home and widespread online commerce has provided countless opportunities for hackers and cyberthieves of all stripes. “Phishing” and “pharming,” where cyberthieves use false identities to steal personal information such as bank and credit card account information, accounted for 33% of all cybercrime in the U.S. last year, according to SEON, a company specializing in anti-fraud systems. That one crime category has more than twice the victim count – 241,342 victims – of the next-highest consumer crime (non-payment/non-delivery).

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