Cybercrime – What is it?

In fact, what does the word Cyber really mean in the context of our everyday lives? In 1971 where PCs and servers did not exist in the way we use them today and Cyber was a word to describe scary-looking robots, then the first networked electronic email (in a form we would recognise today), was sent by Ray Tomlinson to other computers over the ARPANET (the pre-curser to modern networking), one generation later, over 40 trillion emails are sent every year…

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Group of viruses in infected organism. Virus cells selective focus. Bacteria cells high resolution science background. Blue virus on a dark background.

Cybercrime flourished during the 1970s and has grown exponentially ever since – take a look at some of the headline events the word has been treated to since the Blue Box with headline events…


    1982 was a milestone year as Elk Cloner, an Apple II boot virus, was written by a 15-year-old high school student “as a joke” it was one of the first viruses to come to public attention when it attached itself to the Apple II operating system and spread “in the wild”. Pakistani Brain, the oldest virus created in 1986 under unauthorized circumstances, infected IBM computers and after multiple break-ins to government networks the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act passed into law in the USA, making computer tampering a crime punishable by jail time and fines


    In 1986 Clifford Stoll was one of the first engineers to use a ‘honey pot’ to lure hackers back into his network, ultimately to track down an unauthorised user who was stealing and selling military information to the KGB.


    Ian Murphy, also known as “Captain Zap, became the first felon convicted of a computer crime. He broke into AT&T’s computers and changed the internal clock so that people received discounted rates during normal business hours.


    In the year 2000, the Love Bug virus around the world and at its height hit over 10% of UK businesses – even the house of commons was cut off from eletronic communications. The virus, in the form of an attachement to an email, was programmed to delete some computer files, including MP3 music files and images, as well as raiding email addresses to multiply itself and send itself and other e-mails onwards. At the time it was the biggest computer virus the world had ever seen and the first global successful use of “social engineering” in delivering a payload onto PCs all over the world.


    Since then, internet and communication development has exploded, creating a seismic shift in the way we do business. Today there are literally thousands of different ways to access information illegally on our networks, costing the world economy billions and destroying lives and business wholesale. For cybercriminals who may be individuals, organised crime groups, or even nation-states, it is highly lucrative and the barriers to entry are low. The ease of access to and relative anonymity provided by ICT lowers the risk of being caught while making crimes straightforward to conduct.


Where there is growth there is opportunity, not just for the entrepreneurial engineers who made all this possible, but for the equally entrepreneurial individuals ready to take advantage of our reliance on it, and here?s as an example of how enterprising those individuals can be?

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…that despite the leaps and bounds made with cyber security in the last 10 years, that what’s thought to be the world’s biggest ever Cybercrime was uncovered in 2015 with as much as ?650M going missing from banks around the world.The hackers infiltrated the bank?s internal computer systems using malware, which was hidden in the networks for months before being discovered Russian cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Lab, which was called in to investigate after a cash machine in Ukraine was found to have been spitting out money at random times.

The malware was so extensive that it allowed the criminals to view video feeds from within supposedly secure offices as they gathered the data they needed to steal and fed it back to the gang. Once they had all the information they needed, they were able to impersonate bank staff online and transfered millions of pounds into dummy accounts. They even instructed cash machines to dispense money at random times of the day even without a bank card. As investigators looked into the problem, they were staggered by the scale of the crime they uncovered.

Despite the crime being discovered, many banks and financial institutions still fall foul of similar crime as the cybercriminals gain entry onto their systems using “Spear Phishing” and once the payload is installed, it operates in many cases without interference and unnoticed.

Source The telegraph


A Ponemon study revealed that of 39 UK companies surveyed…

100% suffered from Viruses, worms & trojans
97% suffered with malware
69% suffered DDOS attacks
56% were part of a botnet
54% suffered from web based attacks
49% found malicious code running
36% had devices stolen
26% experienced Phishing and Social Engineering
23% had malicious insiders
Ponemon conduct independent research on privacy, data protection and information security policy. Click here to view their website…

There are many ways to protect yourself against Cybercrime and Cyber Wise is here to help. Please explore our website and feel free to contact us directly if you would like a chat about how best to move forward with taking back control!