Dave Marcus has more than twelve years of technical experience in information security, and network and host ...
Today McAfee released its Virtual Criminology Report, our annual study of global cybercrime. We found that cybercriminals are targeting their scams to play off of the economic recession, and governments need to be doing more collaboration to face the problem.
The economic downturn affected cybercrime scams almost immediately. As soon as banks started struggling and mergers and acquisitions became commonplace, we started seeing an immediate increase in banking scams asking users to ‘update their account information’ before the bank changed hands. With almost all of today’s malware being financially motivated, even cybercriminals are looking for more business in tough economic times and are really stepping up their game.
This represents an evolution in the trend of cybercriminals getting smarter and faster about what they do. When news of a specific banks going under hits, scams and malware utilizing that messaging will emerge the very next day. The same happened with threats throughout this year’s presidential race as well as post-election; when President-Elect Barack Obama messaged malware emerged as early as November 5.
The environment of fear and anxiety in consumers that is being caused by the downturn also provides opportunity for cybercriminals to lure consumers into what they think are ‘internet sales marketer’ positions, where they are actually unknowingly assisting in criminal activity as money launderers. We have been seeing an increase in the number of these job postings and recruitment emails promising job seekers will ‘get rich quick.’ The scams are also strategically worded to place high on Google job searches, and are of course designed to look like legitimate job postings.
It is more important than ever that computer users educate themselves in safe searching and safe computing habits. Technology alone cannot solve the problem. Education alone cannot solve the problem. Both combined, however, can enable us all to use the Internet the way we want.
Download your copy of the report here.
Educate. Advocate. Protect.