Cyber crime news articles today continuously tell the public about what is happening in terms of computer hacking, credit card fraud and other forms of crime as these are conducted with the current state of technology available. One of the things that the news often reminds everyone about is that cyber security experts are saying that financial institutions and their customers are increasingly at the risk of Internet crime. The widespread and constant use of mobile phones has further added to the vulnerability of people.
Big corporations with vast resources to install cyber security have been victimized by cyber criminals time and again. For banks and institutions that provide online services, one of the most common forms of crimes is the DoS (denial-of-service) attack. Another crime committed through the communication of these institutions is fraud through the information available on credit cards of people in various transactions.
People who are content to remain users of computers and the Internet are often unaware that the level of their usage has gradually reached a level where nearly all aspects of their lives become accomplished through the Internet: bills being paid, goods being ordered, enrollment and registration, filing of important papers and legal processes as well. They also become oblivious to signs that they are under attack as they go online.
Cyber crime news will show that one of the technologies that the ordinary user is often unaware of is the fast-flux technique which has a mechanism to switch domain-name-server and do proxy redirection networking as well as distributed command and control and web-loading. This technology helps to hide phishing delivery sites- sites which “fish” for victims by baiting potential victims to bite by clicking on a button that will open a malicious link or unload malware. Often this allows the cyber criminal access to private data such as passwords and financial information.
While mobile threats have become a modern day menace, high profile web sites often get targeted by cyber criminals. Thousands of Fortune 500 web pages, educational institutions and government agencies have been attacked in recent years. Apart from the web sites, cyber criminals are also targeting affluent users and persons in high positions since this often leads to access to bigger bank accounts and email addresses of people in their organizations.
The number of compromised PCs (sometime referred to as “zombies”) is in the millions today. These computers are compromised by bots or computer programs that do automated tasks such as deny legitimate access to certain sites. The infected PC becomes part of a botnet, a rogue network of compromised computers that can attack selected targets and cause cessation of business or denial of service.
How does a computer become a zombie? This happens when a user unwittingly downloads a code disguised as an attachment or a video or visits a site that has been compromised; it also happens when virus or malware enters the system. Once the computer has been infected, the bot that it is infected with gets instructions from its CnC (command and control) server. The bot can then install a password stealer or a keylogger and work in consonance with other “zombies”. It can direct all the infected computers to act as one large computer to focus its attack on an identified target.