Breach Du Jour: Who Knew These Cyber Crimes Are So Lucrative?
Why a Power Grid Attack is a Nightmare Scenario
Have you ever really thought about it? What would happen if hackers took out our power grid? Just imagine if gas stations couldn’t pump fuel then no one could get out of cities, planes couldn’t fly, neither could trains run. Transportation would stop in its tracks. Banks couldn’t dispel money and stores couldn’t sell goods and services. That kind of chaos, as we’ve seen before, doesn’t bode well for law-abiding citizens.
According to recent Government reports, hackers target the energy sector more often than any other part of the U.S. critical infrastructure. There are more reported cyber breach incidents in the energy industry than in communications, finance, healthcare, transportation, and water combined.
Federal Records Show Dozens of Cybersecurity Breaches
Have you heard the latest news that the Feds have had dozens of cybersecurity breaches? The U.S. Federal Reserve (our nation’s bank!) had 50+ cyber breaches, some even claimed to be espionage, from 2011-2015. Quite a few of the incidents were not classified in any way, so who knows if that number is larger than that. Cyber crime thieves have targeted large financial institutions around the world the last couple of years, and the U.S. Federal Reserve is no different. These hacking attempts were cited in 140 of the 310 reported attacks! They not only siphon money out of the banks, but sometimes leave a way to trickle more money out over time.
Russian Cybercrime Bosses Make $90,000 per year with Ransomware
Ransomware was virtually unheard of a few years ago and now it has its own acronym, Ransomware as a Service (RaaS). This means that it is now an offered service by cyber criminals! Who knew that holding data hostage for money would become the next big business idea? Russian Ransomware Bosses (seriously, that’s a thing) organize and manage campaigns. They even hire affiliates to hand out ransomware samples and earn a commission off of those sales! These affiliates make about $600 a month!
Once a victim’s files have been infected by the ransomware, the Ransomware Boss sends an email to the victim demanding payment via Bitcoin in exchange for a decryption key. Some victims don’t pay and try to have it removed, but many more pay the ransom.