Cybercrime organizational structures and modus operandi
Posted on 15 July 2008.
Finjan announced the latest findings by its Malicious Code Research Center (MCRC). In its latest trends report for Q2 2008, the MCRC identifies and analyzes the latest Crimeware business operations, and provides a first-of-its-kind insider's look at the organizational structure of Cybercrime organizations. It all makes the cybercrime more successful and profitable than ever.

The report includes real documented discussions conducted by Finjan's researchers with resellers of stolen data and their "bosses", confirming Finjan's analysis of the current state of the cybercrime economy.

The report explores the trend of loosely organized clusters of hackers trading stolen data online being replaced by hierarchical cybercrime organizations. These organizations deploy sophisticated pricing models, Crimeware business models refined for optimal operation, Crimeware drop zones, and campaigns for optimal distribution of the Crimeware.

These cybercrime organizations consist of strict hierarchies, in which each cybercriminal is rewarded according to his position and task. The "boss" in the cybercrime organization operates as a business entrepreneur and does not commit the cybercrimes himself. Directly under him is the "underboss", acting as the second in command and managing the operation.

This individual provides the Trojans for attacks and manages the Command and Control (C&C) of those Trojans. "Campaign managers" reporting to the underboss lead their own attack campaigns. They use their own "affiliation networks" as distribution channels to perform the attacks and steal the data. The stolen data is sold by "resellers", who are not involved in the Crimeware attacks themselves.

As a preventative measure, businesses should look closely at their security practices to make sure they are protected. A layered security approach is a highly effective way of handling these latest threats, and applying innovative security solutions, such as real-time content inspection, designed to detect and handle them is a key factor is being adequately protected.





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