Everybody's getting bored spending all their time at home during lockdown, including cybercriminals. However, what they've been doing for fun isn't fun at all for the rest of us.
According to a recent Trend Micro investigation, members of underground hacking forums have been keeping themselves entertained throughout this period by organizing online poker games, rap battles, in-person sports tournaments, and even mini poetry contests.
Aside from the online poker, which is banned in some countries, most of these activities may seem totally innocent, above-board, and even somewhat humorous (could the next Eminem be a cybercriminal?). But it's the prizes being offered in these contests that are far from legal.
The investigation found that these bored forum members were in fact playing for a chance to win everything from stolen data, to hacking-related tools, and even cash prizes obtained through criminal activities.
Some of these prizes have included:
- Access to cloud-based logs of stolen data, including personally identifiable information and stolen credit cards, which can be used to commit identity theft
- A VISA Gold Card (with a seven-month warranty) registered using leaked scanned IDs
- A script to automate the creation of cloned websites and e-shops, which can be used to steal the credentials and credit card details of unsuspecting users who think they're shopping on the actual website
- Two airplane tickets purchased using a stolen credit card
- A license for credit card fraud anti-detection software, allowing the winner to use stolen credit card details without getting caught
To make matters worse, the same reason these cybercriminals are so bored lately is also the reason why so many individuals and businesses are at their most vulnerable right now. The COVID-19 pandemic has left some individuals unemployed and dependent on their savings, and forced others who are still employed to work from home, where they are easy targets for phishing and other cyber attacks.
In a time when many of us are just trying to get by, cybercriminals are quite literally gambling with your identity, data, and money for their own personal entertainment, and that is why now more than ever, it's important to take all the necessary measures to protect yourself and your online data.