Where Do The Cyber Criminals Hide?
No matter the system, criminals it seems are always one step ahead of the police. If you prevent a means to commit a crime, another criminal is already about to solve it as it goes into place.
The same is true with the Internet. Cyber security is a major issue today with so much of our data out there, it is a great target for criminals.
According to a documentary by Norton, which is part of Symantec, and is a major anti virus and cyber security company, the cyber criminals are now hiding in plain sight. When you go about stealing data, or even sending out millions of spam emails, you still have to be on the Internet to do that.
Today the modus operandi of cyber criminals is to use servers and data storage companies and make their business look legitimate. The con now is more to make the illegal business look legal, the documentary says.
When a cyber crime is committed, whether it be someone’s home computer or a major financial institution, the hacking tools and the data they steal has to be hosted on a server and has to be in a data center somewhere. Even maintaining the system itself requires a host. Using legitimate hosts and disguising what they are doing appears to be the way most operate today. This means they are not hiding in a specific place so much as they are everywhere on servers around the world, making them harder to track down.
At one time there were “bullet proof” servers that were safe from observation. There were data centers that hosted and offered storage without asking any questions. You could store what you wanted whether it was legal or not. These servers were used as well by companies and financial institutions who wanted ultimate security for legitimate operations. They also became a hiding place for criminals.
Eventually they were forced out of business, and that dried up a source for the criminals. Just like in any other operation, the criminals just moved on and found a new way to do their illegal operations.
Exactly where they are is as hard to pinpoint as the internet itself
The greater question is, should the companies be held accountable when their storage space or server is used for illegal activity. Hosters end up trying to balance their business with the needs of police. Often the companies do not know anything illegal is going on, but that still raises the question of whether they are liable. Even how they would know is another question that has not yet been figured out.
The cyber criminals use regular providers then, and even legitimate websites, to hide activities and hacks. When police try to track them down, they have to go through a lot of steps, and by the time they get there, the criminals have moved on.
Another tactic is to use an empty house or apartment as their mailing address, and move it around as soon as authorities start looking around. This makes it harder to track them down even if they find it hiding out on a legitimate server at a data center. It is another example of the criminals staying a step ahead of the police.
Cyber security is a major issue today with so much of our data out there, it is a great target for criminals. A new study suggest they are hiding in an interesting place.
In addition to her work with Rack Solutions Katrina has a video series featured on Youtube called “Ask Katrina”