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Europol says Cyber Criminals Open to be Hired by Militant Groups


09/28/2016


Europol says Cyber Criminals Open to be Hired by Militant Groups
In a shocking revelation, EU police agency Europol said on Wednesday that militant groups have been offered the means to attack Europe as cybercriminals are offering contract services for hire. The agency however mentioned that such militant groups have yet to employ such techniques in major attacks.
 
"There is currently little evidence to suggest that their cyber-attack capability extends beyond common website defacement," it said in its annual cybercrime threat assessment in a year marked by Islamic State violence in Europe.
 
Europol said that taking advantage of computer experts offering "crime as a service", the internet's criminal shadow the Darknet had potential to be exploited by militants.
"The availability of cybercrime tools and services, and illicit commodities (including firearms) on the Darknet, provide ample opportunities for this situation to change," the agency added.
 
While some of the European Union's member states reporting more cyber crimes than the traditional variety, the report found that the existing trends in cybercrime continued to grow on the overall.
 
"Europol is concerned about how an expanding cybercriminal community has been able to further exploit our increasing dependence on technology and the internet. We have also seen a marked shift in cyber-facilitated activities relating to trafficking in human beings, terrorism and other threats," its director, Rob Wainwright, said in a statement.
 
Apart from the rising instances of highly targeted "phishing" attacks to extract security data from senior figures - "CEO fraud" - and video streaming of child abuse, what has become a cause of concern is the rise in the incidents of "ransomware" - programs which break into databases and demand payment for unlocking codes via virtual currencies such as Bitcoin as it has continued to expand, the agency noted in the report.
 
While traditional scams involving the physical presence of a card had been successfully reduced by the existing and present prevention mechanisms, the report found out  that the attacks on bank cash-machine networks were also increasing, as were frauds exploiting new contactless payment card transactions.

Meanwhile, a report on the online IT magazine, ‘itonline’ stated that the Kaspersky Lab, which assisted in the arrest of suspects that were part of the Lurk gang at the beginning of the European summer, claimed recently that threat of cryber crime has increased as the Angler exploit kit, originally created to provide the Lurk group with a reliable and efficient delivery channel, had been opened to all who were willing to pay.
 
“We suggest that the Lurk gang’s decision to open access to Angler was partly provoked by necessity to pay bills. By the time they opened Angler for rent, the profitability of their main “business” – cyber-robbing organisations – was decreasing due to a set of security measures implemented by remote banking system software developers,” said Ruslan Stoyanov, Head of Computer incident investigations department

“But by that time Lurk had a huge network infrastructure and a large number of “staff” – and everything had to be paid for. They therefore decided to expand their business, and they succeeded to a certain degree. While the Lurk banking trojan only posed a threat to Russian organisations, Angler has been used in attacks against users worldwide”, explains Stoyanov.
 
(Source:www.reuters.com & www.itonline.co.za) 


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