It's official, cyber criminals have their own economy and it's thriving. Fuelled by Bitcoin and other online currencies the business of selling botnets, malware kits and social media login details is massive.
The RAND Corporation was recently sponsored by Juniper Networks to look a little deeper into the world of cyber criminals and their findings were extremely interesting. The full report can be accessed here, but to summarise: cybercrime was once the province of individual hackers eager to make a name or land a job. But worldwide research reveals cyber black markets have reached unprecedented levels of economic maturity and growth. The implications for intellectual property and businesses of all types are enormous. This fast growing, multi billion-dollar black-hat economy threatens security systems everywhere. It is predicted that the ability to attack will likely outpace the ability to defend as attackers continuously innovate and change tactics.
Without fail, several times a week the press reports on the fact that XYZ Corporation has been hacked, data stolen or worse still money taken. Personal identities are stolen, social media accounts hacked, phone conversations are recorded, passwords cracked, etc, etc, etc. You get the picture! So, the results of this report make absolute sense - this is big business and big business requires a level of economic maturity. And the interesting thing is, as the systems being exploited are so new (Facebook, Twitter, Bitcoin, Smartphones, Tablets, wireless - all very recent technologies) we don't really have a mature attitude to securing them meaning they are relatively easy to take advantage of.
I've blogged before on the fact that organisations do not spend enough on IT security or take it seriously enough. The findings in the RAND report simply reinforce this viewpoint. An end to end security policy is vital. More often than not organisations simply put in point solutions to deal with point problems. One gaping hole is filled, but another is simply ignored or overlooked. I recently talked to a large UK company (who will remain nameless) and they admitted they have many security challenges and projects that will take three years to implement. Three years! In that time the whole IT landscape will have changed again and it will take them another three years to catch up. Speed is of the essence here - the new hacker economy does not take any prisoners and now is the time to act.
Juniper Networks has a comprehensive suite of security solutions that ensures organisations can keep up with the very latest cyber threats. From secure access from any device, to secure networks in the cloud and secure web applications - all with comprehensive management and intelligence; Juniper ensure that a pro-active stance is taken to dealing with emerging threats from this fast growing underground hackers economy.
What are your thoughts on the threat of hacking? Please post these in the comments box below.