Cyber Hacks: The Internet’s Biggest Crime

Instead of sharing a case of cybercrime, today I’d like to do something a little different and provide some advice on how you can prevent yourself from becoming a victim of cyber hacks. 

how to prevent cyber hacksDid you know more than 556 million people are victims of cybercrime every year? That’s 1.5 million victims a day and 18 victims per second. Recently, cybercrime surpassed drug trafficking as a criminal money-maker. It’s a hot topic in the news and can affect anyone. How can you protect yourself?

1. Monitor your credit card statements weekly and flag any questionable activity immediately. Credit card fraud is one of the most common cybercrimes.

2. Create strong passwords and change them every 90 days. Avoid using your name, birthdate or initials.

3. Check for secure wireless connections when working in public places like a coffee shop.

4. Keep an eye out for phishing emails, lock your laptop and read privacy policies when shopping online. Phishing is defrauding an online account holder of financial information by posing as a legitimate company.

5. Only share personal information on encrypted websites. Look for “https” at the beginning of the web address. For example, a website with a web address that looks like http://www.cellphonerepairpcola.com is not an encrypted website. But a web address such as https://wordpress.com will take you to a site that is encrypted.

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Credit Card Heist

Banks, credit card companies, and major businesses take large measures to protect themselves against cyber attacks. Still, very little stops the best of hackers from infiltrating and getting around the most sophisticated technology.

“The hacker underground has developed various weapons in cyber space that allow them to bypass encryption and thus get into these systems and steal your funds. The average loss associated with a cyber heist is $1.3 million – compared to the average bank robbery in the physical world where you have a gun or a weapon, is only $6,000 to $8,000,” says financial security expert Tom Kellermann.

Cyber robbery is a criminal industry with staggering rewards. In 2005, a Miami-based hacker made history by pulling off one of the biggest online bank heists of all time. But he’s far less known than the likes of Bonnie and Clyde or Billy the Kid. Hacker Albert Gonzalez would drive through Miami’s shopping districts, hacking into store’s wireless networks. He wasn’t sealing their money – he was fishing for credit card numbers, and he’d struck the mother load.

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Still on the FBI’s Wanted List

Years prior to the existence of a Russian Business Network, a small Internet Service Provider hosted in a neighborhood basement in Ohio earned the bad boy rep as the first black-hat hosting company. This ISP was an asylum for hackers and packet monkeys to attack an unsuspicious internet. Foonet hosted clients including Carder Planet — the staunch “carder forum” for credit card hackers — and its IRC (Internet Relay Chat) servers were home to where legendary German hacker Axel “Ago” Gembe managed his Agobot network of Windows boxes that he had gained control over.

Following two raids by the FBI, in 2004, Foonet’s founder and some of the staff were charged for this infamous DDoS-for-hire scheme that simultaneously shook Amazon.com and the Department of Homeland Security. To add the craziness of this case, the owner of Foonet, Saad Echouafni, missed out on $750,000 in order to escape the FBI. He still remains on the “wanted list” today.

So what is Scene of the Cybercrime anyways?

This blog, Scene of the Cybercrime, is home to my “investigative reports” and comments on the biggest, dirtiest and most interesting cybercrimes in history. For years I’ve been following cybercrime simply as a hobby of mine because I find it so intriguing. Now I’ve decided to blog about it and share my perspective with the world. Cybercrime is fascinating. Think about it – there’s an entire world on the other side of your computer screen, an imperfect world where crime is just as common as it is in real life.

We live in one of the most interesting times in human history. I can talk face to face with my friend living on the other side of the planet through my handheld supercomputer while simultaneously sending a typed message to my cousin in California. It’s futuristic. It’s uncensoredIt’s beautiful. 

Join me as we dive into some extraordinary cases of cybercrime. I’ll be posting interesting stories on phishing, identity theft, hacking, cyberterrorism, and much more. Some days I’ll comment on current events concerning the latest cybercrimes and others we’ll go back in time and examine historic cybercrimes that shaped the future of Internet as we know it.

Stay tuned, and thank you for visiting.

– M