When Online Crooks Advertise
Last week at the DefCon hacker conference in Las Vegas, I mentioned a fantastic short video showed by speaker and FBI agent Thomas X. Grasso, who talked about how online criminals have gotten so organized that they are now creating commercials to advertise their crooked services. Only, in this video they don't exactly hint that any of their "services" are completely illegal. Although the ad itself doesn't specify what the "services" are, it appeared on a site teeming with information that would help hackers do their bad things.
The online promo was created by the online gangsters at Carderplanet, a now-disbanded international group of credit card and identity thieves (they dabbled in other businesses, but that was their bread and butter). It starts by zooming in on our lonely planet from outer space, as some ominous theme music fades in.
"Looking for professional solution?" the ad asks, as the music switches from drama to fast techno. "Discover the power of technology ... The most creative ideas ... Professional Research ... Precise and impartial approach." My personal favorite: "Individual customer service."
Then, the music fades back out, and the commercial delivers the goods: "The Team You Can Rely On. Everything You Need for Business ... [dramatic pause] ... Carderplanet."
As Grasso said in his talk that day: "Just so there's no confusion here, these guys are not doing something legal."
The crime family running Carderplanet weren't some jokers working on their class audiovisual project. They were serious businesspeople, with a serious product that still holds strong demand. They were proud of their business, and obviously not terribly worried about getting busted.
When one's PC is infected with a computer worm or virus, adware or spyware, it's hard to see past the feelings of personal violation, rage, inconvenience and annoyance that such intrusions bring. It's tempting to think that it's all the fault of some pimply, pale-faced, socially maladjusted teenage computer nerd with too time on his hands. That may in fact be an accurate profile of your attacker, but chances are he or she is not working alone. The reality is that the attacker is probably -- in some form or another -- working for or ultimately getting paid by organized crime groups just like this one.
Just how big is this cyber crime problem? Grasso said the FBI estimates that cyber crime cost the United States alone more than $67 billion last year. That means online criminal gangs like Carderplanet are carting off about $183 million worth of stolen U.S. goods, services and identities each day, or about $7.5 million every hour.
Posted by: keydet89 | August 18, 2006 7:24 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Iamafigment | August 21, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Keely | August 22, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Anonymous | August 29, 2006 8:59 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Bill Gatez | September 17, 2006 7:54 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.