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How cybercrime has changed over the past 5 years

Intel has used the 5th anniversary of their purchase of security company McAfee to release a review of how the cybersecurity landscape has changed in that time.

There are a number of surprising observations from the report and a few that were expected. Of little surprise has been the continued lack of importance a large number of companies, and individuals, have placed on implementing basic security practices like applying updates to software and implementing policies around passwords. The reasons for this may be that people are “playing the odds” by believing that the risks are relatively small of cybercrime happening to them. It may also be that they simply don’t want to put in the effort or pay for the computer support or advice.

Cybercrime as an industry

More surprising, to McAfee at least, has been the rapid development of cybercrime into a fully fledged industry with “suppliers, markets, service providers (“cybercrime as a service”), financing, trading systems, and a proliferation of business models”. The growth of this industry has been fuelled by the use of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and the protective cloak for criminals provided by technologies like Tor).

The sophistication of the cybercrime industry has led to changes in the focus of criminals away from simply stealing credit cards to the perhaps more lucrative, large scale implementation of “ransomware”. This has ranged from encrypting the contents of a user’s computer and then demanding payment to unlock it, to the recent exploit of users caught up in the publishing of personal sexual information from the Ashley Madison dating site.

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Source: The Conversation

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