Thursday, March 13, 2014

Death, a potential consequence of cybercrime

Can malware kill someone? It seems so, despite that is not its ultimate goal. No firearms, nor poison, nor any type of physical violence are needed. In very extreme cases, just impotence and despair generated on the victim can lead to a fatal end.

Sadly we look at the facts: In the small Romanian town of Movila Miresii, the computer of a 36 year old man was infected with ransomware. The malware blocked the device and showed an alleged police message informing the user that he must pay a fine of around 21,000 euros or face 11 years in prison. The individual believed the bogus message so much that he wrote a suicide note, killed his youngest son and hanged himself. He couldn’t afford the fine and could not bear the thought of going to jail. Obviously this is a very exceptional case, but that should give pause to cybercriminals on their actions and goals.

After that, any other malware seems no big deal. For example, the Trojan which is downloaded when you run the ZIP compressed file attached to a private Facebook message which is being spread by a malicious campaign. Or even the potential consequences of a newly discovered a flaw on mobile devices Nexus S, Galaxy S, Galaxy S 2, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Tab 2, Galaxy SIII, and Galaxy Note 2. Specifically, the backdoor lies in the software that enables communication between the Android OS and the device's radio modem. An attacker could use it to access the device’s file system.
To address the risks from the Internet, demand of security experts is increasing very fast. In the U.S., the number of job postings for cyber-security positions grew twice as fast as the number for overall IT job postings and their average salary rose up to $ 93,000 according to a study from the HR technology company Burning Glass Technologies.

However, the Internet provides amazing possibilities for both businesses and society in general. Yesterday, the World Wide Web turned 25 years old and its creator, Tim Berners Lee, reclaimed their neutral and pro-democracy nature.

Today we are also celebrating the 10 years of activity of the Spanish National Cryptologic Centre. This body is responsible for the relationship between everything that has to do with encryption and the Spanish Administration. Happy Birthday from the CIGTR!


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