This week in the UK is annual Get Safe Online week, and I had an interesting morning today at the summit launching the event. The summit was very well attended with representatives from all areas of business, government and law enforcement there to learn about and endorse the work that Get Safe Online have been doing. It’s great to see so many people taking an active part in combating online crime.
The focus of the event this year is on the problems posed to individuals through the mule recruitment campaigns that are unknowingly responsible for funneling £39,000,000 over the past 6 months into the accounts of criminals. A recent post on Countermeasures illustrated the effectiveness of this technique.
One of the presentations came from Andy Auld, the Intelligence Manager at the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) e-crime unit. Andy described law enforcement operations as being “locked in an arms race” with organised online crime and pointed to three specific factors that were driving and facilitating online crime. According to SOCA, these factors are; the increasing technical sophistication of attacks, huge improvements in sustaining the infrastructure, (such as the call centres operated by Fake AV scareware companies to reassure their victims that their malicious junk is genuine or the “bullet proof hosting” services offered to cybercrime) and cleverer social engineering techniques used to punt the attacks.
I have previously posted about the kinds of telephone and voice-based services being offered in the underground economy and it’s true that this is a growth market. I have even seen seasoned fraudsters complaining that internet banking fraud is becoming “too much trouble” and that the future potential was in telephone-based fraud. So SOCA are right to be concerned about this increasing sophistication.
Bullet proof hosting (where the company who provide hardware and internet connectivity to criminal operations) has been big business for a while now. While some bigger names such as McColo and Intercage get taken offline, there is always a host of smaller players waiting to fill the void as in this underground advertisement.