Sophos Cyber Threat Report: Meet Your Uninvited Guest- The Capitalistic Cybercriminal

Alexa Rowe

In the time it takes you to read this article, many of you will fall victim to a cyber-attack. It’s no longer a question of if, but when you’ll be breached. The traditional hacker operated as a lone wolf, committing crime just for kicks.

“But, over time, many of these cyber-criminal gangs realized there’s a lot of money to be made with malware,” says John Shier, senior security expert at Sophos.

Today’s capitalistic cybercriminal operates as a well-oiled machine whose sole purpose is to infect your business and monetize the data they uncover.

“They’re running it as-a-service. They have customer support, they have very nice, professionally built websites and it’s a business basically, the business of hacking,” says Dan Schiappa, senior vice president and general manager, products, at Sophos.

Sophos experts have also seen access to compromised servers for sale on the dark web, in addition to DIY cybercrime kits that anyone with bad intentions can buy.

“There’s software-as-a-service, where they can go out and buy an exploit kit for $280, rent it for a week and then give it back. So, they could buy a ransomware attack, they could buy a phishing attack. That stuff is happening more and more,” says Michelle Drolet, CEO at Towerwall. She knows how difficult it is to fight cybercrime.

“There’s too many things happening way too fast and there’s too many data points out there that are under attack at the same time where the systems are being compromised because people are not paying attention,” says Drolet.

She has been a partner of Sophos for a quarter century and recently installed Intercept X, the industry’s most advanced next-gen endpoint protection. This deep learning neural network detects both known and unknown threats with higher performance than machine learning or signature-based detection alone. That technology proved invaluable when Towerwall was hit with an attack.

“All of a sudden, the files started to be encrypted and Intercept X stopped it, then brought the files back and cleaned it up and we said, ‘Wow,’” says Drolet.

We may never be able to fully understand the motivation behind the onslaught of malicious attacks that breach our firewalls, servers and business, but one thing is for sure, it’s all about the money. Stay tuned for our next Sophos Cyber Threat Report. We take a deep drive into the dark web and explain what happens if these capitalistic cybercriminals get their hands on your data.

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