Pandemic Increases Criminal Activity (cybercrime and ransomware attack) in Internet and Deep Web.
The global Covid-19 pandemic has made existing cybercrime problems even worse than before, law enforcement agency Europol warns.
Europol’s latest annual Internet Organized Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA), released today, records a sustained outbreak of coronavirus-themed fraud and the emergence of more sophisticated ransomware attacks.
“Criminals quickly used the pandemic to attack vulnerable people; phishing, online scams and fake news have become ideal strategies for cybercriminals, including using the deep web to sell items that they claim can prevent or cure Covid-19, ”Europol said.
EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ilva Johansson commented: “The coronavirus pandemic has slowed down many aspects of our normal life. But, unfortunately, this has accelerated the criminal activity on the Internet. “
The past 12 months have seen “high levels of volatility on the darknet” as a result of a combination of law enforcement and exit scams.
“The life cycle of darknet marketplaces has shrunk and there is no clear dominant market leader,” Europol says.
It reports “the rise in the use of privacy-enhanced cryptocurrencies and the emergence of privacy-enhanced sharing concepts such as Wasabi and Samurai.”
In the meantime, ransomware attacks have moved from mass attacks to more targeted attacks, often involving reconnaissance or searching for vulnerabilities in the networks of targeted organizations.
In addition, cybercriminals have added another element to the ransomware attacks by threatening to auction the collected data, increasing pressure on victims to pay ransom.
The Emotet banking Trojan also poses a serious threat.
Meanwhile, according to Europol, Internet investment fraud has become the fastest growing cybercrime, costing thousands of victims in the millions.
SIM replacement, which allows attackers to hijack mobile phone accounts, allowing them to intercept authentication SMS messages, has also become a new category of threats in this year’s IOCTA report.
Phishing and ransomware attacks are of particular concern, especially for small businesses.
Rose warned, “Small businesses can be an easier target than their corporate counterparts because they have less cybersecurity budget and resources available to them – a fact that cybercriminals are well aware of. Therefore, they should be especially wary of the growing threat while employees work from home. “