The Strategist

McAfee hired hackers to protect his business from cyber attacks

06/13/2016 - 07:04

John McAfee, creator of the first commercial anti-virus program and McAfee company’s founder hired hackers to protect his investment company MGT Capital Investments from burglary, according to Marketwatch.

Colin / Wikimedia Commons
Colin / Wikimedia Commons
McAfee has formed a so-called Hacker Advisory Board, which includes Chris Roberts, Bryce Case (known as YTCracker), and Alexander Heid.

Hacker attacks are becoming increasingly more destructive. On Monday, June 6, hackers broke into Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest accounts belonging to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Ourmine hacker group, claimed responsibility, said that this way, they have checked Zuckerberg’s security system, and asked him to contact them.

A day later, anonymous saboteurs hacked account of US National Football League (NFL) on Twitter, and published false tweets about death of its leader, Roger Goodell.

Last year, damage from hacker attacks (including attacks committed by activists and frauds with credit cards) amounted to more than $ 1.07 billion. These figures are given in the report on cybercrime for 2015, prepared by experts of FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

 According to the document, in 2015 IC3 received 288,012 complaints from users affected by hackers’ activities. Of these, 2453 complaint were related to cyber extortion software. Damage from Trojans numbered $ 1.6 million. In 2015, the ransom software was not the most common threat, yet the statistics show that income from continues to grow. IC3 first started to mention cyber extortion software in its reports in 2012. In the second half of 2014, the center received 1402 complaints related to this threat. At that time, the damage caused by the ransom software was $ 490 thousand.

In the first three months of 2016, number of types of such malicious programs grew by more than a quarter, as recorded by Intel.

The ransom software is easy to use, carries low risks for their creators, and, at the same time, can bring high returns, says Bart Parys, a security expert who keeps a record on the growing number of varieties of such programs. For now, Parys and his colleagues have recorded 124 types of cyber extortion software.

According to some experts, cases of installation and managing ransom software via network infrastructure have recently increased in number by 35 times.

Such a powerful burst of activity is triggered by the fact that, thanks to this kind of malicious software, hackers can earn a lot of money. That is why they constantly improve methods of laying cyber snares.

Cyber extortion software blocks or deletes data from the victim's computer, and then demands a ransom to recover information. The redemption price ranges: physical persons are typically demanded to pay a few hundred dollars or pounds sterling. The ransom for companies, however, may amount to several thousand.

Some dangerous viruses, such as Locky and Cryptolocker, are controlled by organized gangs, says Parys. However, other malicious codes are commonly used by fraudsters who have bought them on the ‘underworld’ market.

Amount of use the network infrastructure by criminals is another sign that danger of ransom programs has increased dramatically. Number of Web domains used for temporary storage of data and making payments, increased by 35 times, according to Infoblox company’s annual report.