Fraudsters and hackers team up to create their businesses

While they have always worked in parallel, experts in technological engineering and those in social engineering join forces to create companies.

Objective: to pool their skills and provide themselves with the means to grow by relying on a traditional business structure. A real parallel economy that impacts the real economy.

Hackers, little computer geniuses

Hackers: the first pirates of the Net. Born in the 1980s, passionate about computers and lines of code, first-generation hackers tracked down IS flaws to break into the computer bowels of companies. Their motives? Compete against the biggest software publishers, impress their peers with their technical prowess and creativity and challenge each other. Driven by convictions, the intrusions were made to block the sites of companies whose ideas they did not share (denial of service), or to steal data for the purposes of industrial espionage. Hacking was a game.

Over time, more venal motives emerged, with peer recognition not nurturing her man. More numerous, the hackers then structured themselves into teams and added to their operating methods, the development of codes making it possible to lock access to the IS of companies and demanding ransoms in exchange for the restitution of access. Ransomware was born.

Faced with the explosion of these cyberattacks and the ever-increasing amounts claimed by hackers from companies, the latter, and in particular the large ones, have set up processes and deployed solutions to prevent and fight against this scourge. However, with all companies remaining under-equipped, this type of attack continues to abound, targeting all organizations regardless of their size and sector of activity. According a 2021 study by Euler Hermes and the DFCG (the National Association of Financial Directors and Management Control), 2 out of 3 companies have suffered at least one fraud attempt this year, and 33% of companies victimized by fraud have suffered damage greater than €10K, and 14% greater than €100K. French companies would have, in cumulative amount, lost €2.5 billion in 2021 (source: Ransomware Barometer )

Fraudsters, bold talkers

If the fraudsters did not wait for the Internet to indulge in their scams nor for the use of digital techniques to propagate their attacks, their arrival on the Net is more recent. Unlike the hacker, the fraudster has nothing to do with the crazy technophile. He is a daring commercial, a fine psychologist, seducer and who handles language well. Qualified as social engineering, the scams propagated by these fraudsters are more and more numerous. In 2020, 47% of companies declared having been victims of CEO fraud, 46% of supplier fraud, and 25% of customer fraud (source Euler Hermes, DFCG, 2021). In addition, 33% of companies that were victims of fraud suffered damage greater than €10K and 14% suffered damage greater than €100K. In a few years fraudsters have become more professional. After the first badly written and burst emails, fraudsters began to use various technologies and social networks to better target profiles and write correct emails in the language of the recipients. With the democratization of technologies, they have never ceased to perfect their actions. Thus, they no longer hesitate to go to the dark web to consult tutorials dedicated to technologies such as Deepfake allowing, in a video sequence, to transform the words spoken by the person filmed. A technique today more efficient than email to fool employees because few people are aware of this technology. An employee can therefore easily be misled by a truncated video of his superior asking him, for example, to execute a bank transfer. The motivation of a fraudster is always venal!

Hackers and fraudsters: two worlds that today come together

If until now these two worlds were unaware of each other, for some time they have been getting closer. Objective: to combine their skills and practices to attack ever better armed companies. Their collaboration is simple: after having interfered in the IS of companies, the hackers provide the fraudsters with information so that they can themselves refine their attack strategies. An association between specialists in social engineering and experts in technological engineering which today takes the form of the creation of companies identical to traditional companies. Thus, like the latter, they have a storefront and are structured around a General Management, Administrative and Financial Management, HRD, managers, etc.

Faced with such a development, companies have no other alternative but to fight together against this parallel economy which, by becoming more professional, has an ever greater impact on the real economy.

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