The digital gangster and possibly other digital gangsters and thugs working for him is a historically new classification of criminal or, better yet, cybercriminal.
Running the Wires
The objective of this digital gangster is to “run the wires” as opposed to the “streets” and use the bits and bytes and existing technologies such as strong encryption algorithms as a weapon to terrorize and digitally extort for illegal financial gain…
It has become even easier to remain anonymous and elusive and make things even worse for law enforcement and better for organized cybercrime. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance Coin, Cardano, Tether, Solana, XRP, Wrapped Bitcoin, Maker, Kusama, and many more are playing a vital part here. According to the CoinMarketCap site, a 200 cryptocurrency roster is in place, and I would predict that this roster will likely grow to thousands eventually.
Unprepared & Unsuspecting Potential Cyber Victims
The cybercriminals hope that potentially unsuspecting and ill-prepared cyber victims have not purchased an antivirus scanner from a reputable, proven cybersecurity company. They hope that unsuspecting users have an unsecured WIFI network and unpatched laptop or PC operating systems that will facilitate their efforts to penetrate those networks and systems to perpetuate their criminal acts with speed and ease. Even if some potentially targeted users have an antivirus trial version, it will make the cybercriminals’ objectives harder to reach.
Weaponizing Cyber Technologies
In addition to essentially weaponizing existing cyber technologies, cyber criminals enjoy both sides of the coin. By requesting payments from cyber victims ranging from novice technology users to Fortune 500 companies in cryptocurrency, the criminals have a massive head start even from the most resourceful law enforcement organizations such as the FBI.
The Elusive Crypto Coin
The much less regulated cryptocurrencies are challenging to track compared to traditionally regulated currencies such as the USD, EURO, and CAD. Those encrypted digital currencies are a popular means for criminals to collect ransomware payments. These cybercriminals enjoy tools in an end-to-end fashion to plan and implement their malicious actions. Given that encryption is an essential tool in the internet gangster’s cybercrime toolbox, cryptography gangster is an accurate and valid title.
$5.2 Billion Bitcoin Ransomware Transactions
About $5.2 billion BTC or crypto coin transactions took place in the first half of 2021. The most widely used ransomware variants to carry out these cybercrimes were REvil/Sodinokibi, Conti, DarkSide, Abaddon, and Phobos. This report does not break down the distribution of use amongst these popular variants.
Society Wide Cybercrime Awareness & Prevention
For the average user and large organizations that often hold millions of confidential client records ranging from medical to financial, it must be a top priority to integrate and encapsulate cyber security and cyber privacy to the very fabric of their operation. It starts with educating employees about social engineering schemes and related awareness, work-from-home security measures including help and even sponsorship to secure their cyber devices because these devices could potentially be a conduit to access company data.
The same goes for schools; cyber education and awareness should become a top priority for education boards globally. Building cyber foundations from grade 1 and before is an essential start and a collective societal effort to protect us from cybercriminals or cryptographic gangsters.