Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Cyber crime cost $3 billion last year

Incidents of cyber crime were way up last year and 2014 is not getting any better, according to data gathered by the Scientific Division of the Federal Police.

Online fraud, extortion and other crimes were up 113% in 2013 when criminals made an estimated US $3 billion, up from $2 billion the year before.

Mexico is the second most vulnerable country in Latin America and the Caribbean for this type of crime, likely because of its high Internet connectivity and abundance of criminal groups, says InSight Crime, a research organization.

Skimming, or cloning of credit cards, has been around for a while but a new tactic surfaced last year, called Backdoor.Ploutus, in which a mobile phone is connected to an ATM with a USB cable, and a virus is planted in the machine. Cash can then be withdrawn from the ATM by sending a text messsage to the connected mobile phone.

Mexico has the distinction of being the first country to see this method of taking control of an ATM.

Theft of passwords, electronic commerce fraud, identify theft and extortion, are among the most common forms of cyber crime in Mexico. In one form of extortion, La Jornada reported earlier this year, hackers remotely take over the computer systems and databases of businesses, then demand payment to allow users to regain access. Amounts demanded are generally between $2,000 and $3,000.

Small and medium-size businesses are the most vulnerable because they don’t the sophisticated protection systems of larger companies, says Ciro Humberto Ortiz Estrada, head of the national police force’s Scientific Division.

Another extortion method employs ransomware. A hacker will obtain access to a computer, inject the malware and lock up the machine. A message pops up on the screen, demanding payment — in one case $3,000 — so files can be recovered. One such piece of malware is called Anti-Child Porn Spam Protection 2.0.

Efforts are under way to establish mechanisms for tackling cyber crime but as InSight Crime notes, the biggest challenge is in keeping up with a rapidly evolving criminal sector.

Source: El Economista (sp)

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