Secure IT Foundation

Follow the money and you will find the crime

Posted on: September 26, 2009

In the real world, you know the bad guys. These are the gangs of feral youths on the street corner, the bank robbers waving guns around, ex-partners seeking revenge, the school bully waiting at the gates. As you can see them, you can plan to avoid running into them. Evolution has added natural responses that saves your life more than you think.

Evolution has never seen the Internet though. In the post – Don’t be yourself we raised the concept of being a different character on the Internet. The benefit of following this advice is that you have to build a new personality for yourself. You can take on personality traits that are not natural to you, so you have to learn a new set of security minded behaviours. You can add secure responses to help make up for your missing natural defences.

The downside of the Internet is that the bad guys already know about the idea of being someone else. They had a head start in the real world, being experienced conmen and transferred their incisive understanding of human behaviour into online crimes. Real world crime, like stealing your banking information, allows the major league criminals to do online crimes, safe in the knowledge that they cannot be easily traced, especially if they are using your bank account to commit fraud. Online crime, using trojans and viruses to steal your banking information, has the same effect as it allows more crime to be committed offline. With the added benefit of not needing to be physically located near the victim on the Internet, it can be almost a legitimate career to be in one continent stealing from people in others. If you choices were work a field 12 hours a day or work a computer for a couple of hours to send scam emails, which would you choose.

Recently there has been a rise in the use of online scams to steal computer game accounts like World of Warcraft. There is a simple reason for this… the bad guys follow the money. Internet gaming is now a billion dollar industry, so the crime moves to the easiest pickings. The typical gamer, with money to spend on their game, is often a social outsider who uses the Internet to substitute their real life failings with enhanced abilities or personality traits. Much like the security aware home computer user who applies the ‘Don’t be yourself’ concept – without the security awareness! This lack of natural or learnt security awareness means this group of people are vulnerable to opportunities to extend their social network or will install unverified software updates to get a new ‘feature’ working. They will even try to copy the criminals and download software that claims to steal gold / money / characters for them. Guess what will happen next… Follow the money and you will find the crime.



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