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The tough fight against cybercrime

Hacking, malware and DDoS attacks present companies with enormous challenges. No wonder cybercrime plays such an important role at this year’s CeBIT. On the first day of the trade fair, Carsten Meywirth, head of the cybercrime group at the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), shared recent trends.

14 Mar. 2016
Cyber Crime - 1

“Each year, cybercrime and industrial espionage cause EUR 50 billion of damage to the German economy. Alone in 2015, we saw a 30% increase in malware – with a total of 440 million potential threats,” reported Carsten Meywirth during his speech, which was entitled “The threat is global - current trends of cyber crime“.

Social networks like Facebook and Twitter pose an additional problem because they are meanwhile being used more frequently to distribute malware. So-called social engineering has also become more popular among criminals, said Meywirth. Just a few weeks ago, the blackmail Trojan horse Locky, with its 5,000 infections per hour, caused national headlines in Germany.

Ransomware: anyone can buy it

Programs like Locky, which are also known as ransomware, can in theory be purchased by anyone. “In the ‘visible web’, which anyone can access, there are providers that sell ransomware to interested third parties,” explained Meywirth.“You just have to log in, indicate how high the ransom should be, provide the blackmail message, and then you get a custom-made Trojan horse to download. The user can even test whether the malware can be recognized by virus scanners. If the ransomware is successful, the seller gets a share of the ‘ransom’. It’s a lucrative business.”

Cybercriminals belong in jail

“The only way to close the security gap is to put those responsible in jail.” With this sentence, Meywirth ended his presentation and emphasized the importance of national and international cooperation. “In February, 69 apartments and offices in Germany and abroad were searched and nine suspects were arrested. It was a coordinated action against the operators of darknet forums where weapons and drugs, among others, are traded.”

Two seconds before the BKA took over the administration of these forums, a user warned another user about the imminent police action – and received the following answer: “But the BKA doesn’t work on Saturdays!” Wrong, added Meywirth with a wink.