One of the first stories of note I covered was news, broken first by The Indy, that a cyber crime boss had released a video to the darknet offering up a Porsche or Ferrari to the cyber goon-for-hire who could come up with the most lucrative scam.
Now, if it’s true, the story is an interesting one in what it tells us, or confirms to us, about the economics of cyber crime.
Namely, that if the bad guys have this kind of money knocking about – to blow on a kind of bizarre “employee of the month” competition – then how can the police, government and even security vendors hope to attract and retain the best talent?
If nothing else, Rapid7 global security strategist Trey Ford told me by email, it shows the sheer professionalism of cyber gangs today and the vast scale of the underground economy.
“With every part of our lives revolving around increasingly connected technologies, the line between physical and virtual is gone, and the opportunities for attackers are immense,” he added.
“The general public needs to understand this is no longer a world of script kiddies and evil foreign governments, where the average person is unlikely to be a victim. Cyber crime is big business, and everyone is a potential target.”
It sounds obvious but it’s worth saying again, and stories like this at least raise these raise these problems in the public eye.
The other alternative, of course, is that it’s a hoax. Amichai Shulman, co-founder and CTO of Imperva, was not convinced by the story.
“I find it odd that criminal organisations resort to ‘advertising’ an ‘employee of the month’ program. I don’t think that we’ve seen this with recruiting skilled chemists for drug making and drug design or astute economists for money laundering schemes,” he argued. “This leads me to speculate that this is a hoax.”