Image by elhombredenegro
The history of cyber crime dates to practically as far back as the birth of internet itself. Nefarious networks of cyber criminals employ ever more crafty ways to wheedle their way past the internet security software of Credit institutions and their customers. It often seems like the authorities are playing catch up to the cyber criminals.
One of the latest threats to emerge from this murky world of hackers and cyber criminals is the aptly named ‘Project Blitzkrieg.’ Lead by a villainy sounding Russian hacker operating under the alias of vorVzakone, the project was proceeded by a rallying call sent out late last year to recruit an army of hackers to simultaneously exploit, hack and ‘blitz’ the security infrastructure of US banks and credit firms, and their customers with the aim of defrauding millions of dollars before they catch up to the tougher European standard. According to his recruitment statement the Trojan (virus used to infect unwitting user’s computers in order to steal their data) has been in development by the hacker since 2008 and has already successfully used to transfer $5m, highlighting the increasingly sophisticated means employed by criminal gangs.
vorVzakones has even taken to YouTube to publicise himself and his activities. The name itself translates to ‘thief in law,’ which appears to underscore his reputation for being beyond the law, with the Russian authorities unable or at least unwilling to do anything to stop him. Another service offered by vorVzakone is, believe it or not, insurance against prosecution from lawyers – for a lump sum his associates will ‘intervene’ on behalf of an arrested hacker to prevent imprisonment using bribes and other nefarious means, including having a stand in serve the prison sentence in the event the hacker is actually prosecuted.
This may be beginning to sound too much like the plot of a bond film but Project Blitzkrieg has been dubbed a credible threat by many security analysts. The rate of cyber-crime appears to be growing exponentially. According to the UK office of cyber security large firms were reporting an average of 2 major attacks to their systems every day but by last year this had risen to a jaw dropping total of 500. The problem does not just extend to criminal cyber geeks trying to make a fast buck, Governments the world over are becoming increasingly concerned of cyber attacks from Terrorists or rogue states, last year the group Anonymous famously attacked card companies such as pay-pal as revenge for their refusal to process donations to wiki-leaks. Just this week the US government has announced a massive expansion of their ‘cyber command’ elevating it to the same level of importance as other major command posts.
In a bid to step up the fight against cyber-crime, the European Union is planning on introducing new laws to ‘harmonise’ member states information security, ensuring they provide the same level of protection to computer users. Banks and businesses are continually beefing up their own protection and are becoming more open about attacks to their systems, rather than trying to avoid bad publicity the hope is that they can work together to keep up with the cyber criminals.
Many banks and credit card companies will compensate consumers against internet fraud, if someone hacks into your account then you won’t lose your life savings. However the best advice is to avoid having your computer compromised in the first place, install robust antivirus software and report any suspicions to your bank immediately.
Businesses and other organisations may also enjoy improved protection by opting for server hosting for their websites. Firms offering this service use the latest security measures to ensure the data they are storing is safe. When using this method of web hosting, a company has the server it is hosted on to themselves, meaning they are not at risk to attacks against other websites as is possible when using a shared server.
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Robert Dickson is a tech savvy blogger interested in innovative technologies and the business world. He writes for Connetu.