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Brazil’s Cybercrime And SA

Brazil’s Cybercrime: A Red Flag Alert for SA

Each week, it seems that there is a new cyber security threat from a growing list of countries. One of the latest alerts has come from Brazil, and the underground market is not just launching cyberattacks, but has turned the concept into a business by selling the tools and training.

While most of the devious cyber criminals prefer to stay low-key, it appears that Brazil is taking their crime tactics out in the open to sell the underground services of business application account credentials, banking Trojans, phishing pages, online service account credential checkers and phone number lists. Any budding cybercriminal can learn the tricks of the trade and launch their attacks from their home country. Their specialty is to make a change up from the traditional web to the use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Skype, WhatsApp and YouTube.

Brazil's Cybercrime And SA

A report from Trend Micro called The Brazilian Underground Market: The Market for Cybercriminal Wannabes calls attention to the fact that South Africa is particularly vulnerable as the criminals are seeing SA as an easy target for cybercrime. While a majority of these attacks are on unsuspecting individuals, this can easily carry over into the corporate environment as people intertwine their personal and business devices. What may start out as a single target can quickly move into a company and access sensitive and proprietary information that can wreak total devastation.

The July, 2014 discovery of $3.75 billion in compromised Brazilian transactions have been linked to a Brazilian ring using a what is being called ‘bolware’; a play on the malware designed for illegitimate access on the Boletos popular payment method, covering almost any kind of transaction imaginable. The cybercriminals accessed telephone bills, mortgages, health insurance premiums and more, in not only payment method, but the data associated with each. It began with the infection of individual pc’s and then wound its way using Windows browser and then through all of the internet browsers, including those that are listed with higher security.

Sharon Knowles, CEO of Da Vinci Forensics says:

Da Vinci works with companies to assist in understanding that cyberattacks should not be considered a technology issue, but a business issue. We evaluate all aspects, resources and potential breach areas and set up a protection barrier as a holistic approach to ensure the problem is diffused before it happens. DaVinci’s continued vigilance helps to change the philosophy from the fearful to the ‘cyber savvy’, reducing the threat level and allowing a company to continue with their core business functions.”

Symantec, one of the major security watchdog companies, has listed Brazil as Number 5 on their list of cybercrime countries. The details include: 4% share of malicious computer activity, malicious code ranking: 16, spam zombies ranking: 1, phishing web site hosts ranking: 16, bot rank: 5, attack rank: 9.
South Africa is moving ahead in the global market but many of the businesses are not prepared for the sophisticated and ever-changing methods of cyber warfare.

The fact that guards are being left down allows easy access for cyberattack and in most cases, the damage is done before a company even knows it has occurred. McAfee, another security company, has indicated that the cost in losses for developing countries are often higher due to the fact that governments do not have monitoring services in place to gauge the level of attack. The price that is paid for the loss of intellectual property, proprietary data and reputation has gone beyond the ability for calculation.

*** Sources***
New York Times
Enigma Software
Forbes.com