The criminal version of a hacker-for-hire is like a combination private eye and hitman. In each case, the professional is paid on contract to gain access to information that will give the hiring party an upper-hand in order to damage or destroy the victim. And, like it's traditional counterpart, the criminal hacker for-hire's target is specific, the purpose has a clear agenda and plan, and motives are driven by vendettas old as humankind; money, love, sex, revenge, and pride.
Hacking-for-hire is booming because it's suddenly the path of least resistance for the satisfaction of some of our most basic, hard-wired human proclivities - and you don't need a gun or brass-knuckles to pull it off. No one gets hurt. Physically, at least. And ethically the leap to the dark side is shorter, and the line easier to cross than a traditional knock-off.
The Wall Street Journal headline was prompted by an annual report by Dell: "Underground Hacker Markets", April 2016.
Intelligence analysts found that business is booming in underground markets for Russian and other hackers, ...some touting 24/7 customer service and "free trial attacks" ...
-Wall Street Journal
This is not your misguided, hoodie-wearing teen, but sophisticated hacker cartels that "...are operating more like regular businesses." with 24/7 support lines and "free trial attacks", with lots of talent and "huge abilities" to get the job done.
Dell's report includes some other, hugely important facts and conclusions (especially considering we think we are at an inflection point for a super-cycle of cybercrime). Soon, we will report more on what I think are the nuggets particular to our purpose - to inform, educate, and empower individuals to protect themselves and the technology they use personally and professionally everyday.
But for now, this is what you should know.
What Hacker-for-Hire Means to You
If you have anything to lose, and there is anyone else that will gain through your loss, you should expect to be the target of a cyber-attack. And, the probabilities of being targeted are increasing rapidly with time. I'm not "selling fear" here, not sensationalizing anything - this is just good advice based on facts and the exponentially-progressing environment that influences the future of the facts.
The friction between a heated impulse and the ability to satisfy it with some simple, safe keystrokes is becoming negligible as market prices for crimeware technology are plummeting and as a result; anyone can get in on the game.
So, what's that look like to us in real life?
Think about what takes place over your personal technology, how any of it could be used to hurt you, and it is probably very similar to what is already happening today.
Stolen email to manipulate financial and legal disputes, including divorce and family court issues, estate settlement, and business dealings.
- Hijacked social media accounts for deception, fraud, extortion and character assault.
- Corporate email hack for competitive advantage.
- Bank account information sold at a percentage of the account's current cash balance.
Use your imagination. Anyone with the desire, an internet connection, and a couple of bucks can seriously influence the outcome of what could be your life's most important matters.
This is why we are a little crazy about promoting private email domains for individuals, families, and professionals - which segues nicely into the next section.
What Can You Do About It?
You can do a lot about it, but cyber security is not the flip of a switch. Think of it as a dimmer-dial. It's a process because you have four fronts to your digital life, and all should eventually be protected.
It always starts with email.
The first, serious step you should take is the best one: a private email domain.
"Free" won't cut it anymore for anyone that is serious about their life in the Digital Age, and it is the single-most important step toward the state of digital autonomy which is so increasingly critical today.
Total Digital Security provides access and tools to private customers for the establishment of personal email domains for themselves, their families, and their professions.
We bring the most advanced email security technology available today, typically costing thousands of dollars a month to operate and available only to large companies and other organizations, and make it easy-to-use, and affordable for you.
To learn more, contact us for a no-obligation plan and quote.
Video - How We Do Private Email: