If crime doesn’t pay, some cyber criminals won’t be aware of it. According to a report released on Monday by Trend Micro, a top team member in a cybercrime organization like Conti can earn an estimated US$1.1 million per year.

Since cybercrime groups don’t file reports with the SEC, the leaked information about the salaries the group earned by a top money maker in a large criminal enterprise like Conti and estimated revenue of $150 million to $180 million is based on a report by Trend Micro. represents a best estimate. million.

Trend Micro researchers said, “The facts gleaned from the leaked conversations paint a picture of the Conti organization as more semblance of a large, legitimate business.”

“It appears that these criminals have managed to create a complex organization with multiple layers of management and internal rules and regulations that mimic a legitimate corporation,” he added.

The report “Inside the Halls of a Cybercrime Business” by David Sancho and Mayra Rosario Fuentes, focuses on the revenue and organization of three different criminal groups – one small (less than $500,000 in annual revenue), one medium (up to $50 million) And a big one (over $50 million).

size affects specialization

Like any enterprise, size affects how specialized a criminal organization needs to be, observed Trend Micro vice president of market strategy Eric Skinner.

“A smaller group will specialize in one area – either subcontracting other aspects of their operations or being a niche provider to larger groups,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“As a conglomerate gets bigger,” he continued, “they can bring more niche skills in-house to reduce costs or have more control over their supply chain.”

“Criminal organizations mirror legal business because both are trying to maximize profit,” he said. “An organization that is not motivated by profit, say an utopian or terrorist organization, will often have different structures to reflect their different goals.”

As criminal organizations grow, they face the same “business” challenges as legitimate organizations, including recruiting, training, software development, business development and marketing, noted Sean McNee, internet intelligence expert. is the vice president of research and data at Domain Tools. Seattle.

“As such,” he told TechNewsworld, “they have adopted many best practices and business models to address the same issues legitimate organizations face in managing these challenges.”

innovative startup

McEnany said the cybercrime ecosystem is a competitive free market that is maturing rapidly.

“Relationships in that economy allow organizations to find technical expertise, efficient affiliation and sales models, and the ability to scale effectively,” he continued. “Cybercrime operations can be viewed in the context of tech startups – capitalizing on momentum, iterating rapidly to product-market fit and building business partnerships.”

Criminal organizations are no different from for-profit corporations, said John Bambenek, principle threat hunter at Netenreich, an IT and digital security operations company in San Jose, California.

“They need to organize people and processes to accomplish their mission of making money,” he told TechNewsWorld. “They’re just willing to use criminal tools to get it.”

Not only do traditional business models have a proven track record of success, but they also scale well, said Erich Krone, a security awareness advocate at KnowBe4, a security awareness training provider in Clearwater, Fla.

“In dealing with groups of criminals, there must be a clear delineation of authority, and there must be checks and balances to ensure that these criminals are not stealing from their own cybercrime organization,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Organization and well-defined authority are important in ensuring a smooth operation.”

size matters

The report states that determining the size of an organization can be important information for law enforcement.

It explained that knowing the size of a targeted criminal organization could allow stalking groups to prioritize over others in order to achieve maximum impact.

“Also note that the larger the organization, the less vulnerable it may be to arrest, but the greater the risk of manipulation,” the researchers wrote.

“Data-gathering techniques are important,” he continued, “if there is anything the leaked Conti chats have taught us, it is that information disclosure does far more to paralyze group operations than server takedowns.” Might be powerful.”

“Once private information is leaked, the relationship of trust between group members and their external partners can be irreversibly broken,” he said. “At that point, it is more difficult to re-establish trust than simply changing IP addresses or switching to a new Internet provider.”

sacrifice of scales

Crone pointed out, however, that cybercrime operations that are well organized will be very difficult for law enforcement to penetrate and gather information.

“They can protect the top leadership by pinning the blame on many levels below them,” he said. “Similar to street drugs, usually low-level, street vendors are arrested, while kingpins and large-scale traffickers go unpunished.”

Trickbot and Conti were recruited at technical universities and on legitimate job search sites, and it’s likely those recruiters weren’t aware of the work they were supporting, said a senior at Flashpoint, a global threat intelligence company. Andras Toth-Szifra said the analyst.

“The arrest of one person may not necessarily compromise an organization because lower-level employees may not be aware of the work they are supporting,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Analysts have observed similar tactics employed to recruit unwitting money mules.”

shadow economy

Skinner said that with increased organization and specialization, cybercrime groups are moving faster and more effectively during each phase of an attack.

“While most attacks still begin with phishing or the exploitation of vulnerable Internet-facing assets, we are seeing an increase in supply-chain attacks,” he said.

“And,” he continued, “we are seeing an evolution in extortion tactics, beyond destructive ransomware, with a greater focus on threats of data theft and public disclosure of sensitive information.”

“What we’re seeing is a shadow economy developing,” McEnany said.

He noted that recent trends focus on specialization and division of labor within groups as they mobilize the resources needed to grow and mature their criminal enterprises.

“Cooperation has always been the hallmark of many of these groups,” he said. “With consolidation in some of the larger organizations, their ability to develop certain capabilities in-house has increased.”

“With the proliferation of the ransomware-as-a-service model, the marketing and support of customer support and their ‘customer success’ has also increased,” he added.

One of the attractive things about cybercriminals is the speed at which they adopt cutting-edge technology, said Andrew Barratt, managing head for solutions and investigations at Coalfire, a provider of cybersecurity advisory services based in Westminster, Colo.

“A few years ago, we knew of criminals using AI and machine learning to perform language processing – all pre-chat GPT – to mimic the language used in emails used by their targets. For.”

“They’re cloud-friendly, globally diversified, and in a lot of cases, willing to take risks with new technology because the payoff can be so high,” he said.

Unless you’re one of those rare people who shy away from cell phone use, you’re walking around with a cyber bomb in your pocket.

Smartphone malware is an ever-increasing threat. More than 5 billion people use mobile phones worldwide. More than 90% of those individuals rely on smart- or Internet-enabled phones, with an average of 40 installed apps on each phone.

By the end of this year, more than 200 billion apps will have been downloaded from the virtual app store. Therein lies the danger.

Official Apple and Google-controlled software stores are cautious in weeding out unsafe apps. But many cell phone users rely on rogue and third-party download repositories that become overrun with infectious malware.

The danger doesn’t end there at App Stores. Cybercriminals have a toolbox full of ways to slip malicious mobile malware onto your phone. All you have to do is visit the wrong website, click on a link embedded in an email or text message, or open an attached document to enable Cyber ​​Trap.

know the risks

Mobile malware is a growing cyber security concern. This may result in the theft and subsequent sale of your personal data.

Adware is now the cause of 42% of new mobile malware worldwide. Banking malware threats, especially on Android devices, have increased by up to 80%.

According to the latest reports regarding enterprise security, having most of the free or even paid antivirus apps on your phone does little to help detect or prevent sophisticated cyber attacks. About half of free Android antivirus programs do not detect malware effectively.

iPhone security isn’t impenetrable either. Although Android malware is much more prevalent than iOS infections, cybercriminals are getting better access to iPhones. Both platforms are susceptible to malware that opens backdoors into phones through text messaging and other shared file exchanges.

Cybercriminals want your data. Most mobile malware is designed to peer into your digital data to steal your various usernames and passwords. This moves them to your bank accounts.

But cyber thieves do not stop here. They also have invasive software that lets them view your audio and video and track your locations.

What to do

Start by fixing some of the shortcomings in the way you use your smartphone. You want to make it more difficult for cybercriminals to take advantage of you. Taking stock of your installed apps is a great start.

android phone

Go to the Settings panel and open the Permissions section. Its exact location will vary depending on the Android version installed and whatever user interface (UI) is used by the phone’s manufacturer.

Normally, you can go to Settings > Apps > View All Apps. Then tap on an app’s name and scroll down the list to tap Permissions.

Check each app for permissions granted by default. Remove all that the app needs. Question why access to the camera, microphone, documents and photos is needed. These are the ways app developers collect your data in order to monetize the software.

Be sure to toggle on the option to remove permissions and free up space for unused apps. Even better, long press on the app name to uninstall the apps you don’t use.


Go to Settings > Apple ID > Password & Security

Work your way through the menu items to set your preferred options. Pay particular attention to the Apps using Apple ID section. This is where you can find third-party apps, such as fitness or email apps, associated with your accounts.

Keep this list short. Be sure to remove apps you no longer use by touching the Edit button and the red “Remove” icon.

Got Malware?

Be suspicious at the first sign of your phone behaving strangely. Both Android and Apple smartphone platforms offer the same set of common symptoms that indicate that malware may be running inside your device.

It helps if you know the most recent apps you’ve installed and the documents or text links you have open. This knowledge can help you troubleshoot a potential malware issue.

If your phone has one or more of these six symptoms, it may be caused by malware:

1. Unusual messages and pop-ups
Inappropriate messages or unwanted advertising pop-ups are sure signs of mobile malware or spyware.

2. Titles in your app drawer or library that you don’t recognize
Search the Internet for the title. This can indicate whether the app is secure or not. Delete all unknown app titles.

3. Slow Performance
This could mean that you have almost maxed out on your available RAM (Random Access Memory). Remove unused apps and restart your phone. If the slowness persists, suspect malware.

4. High Internet usage and/or increased battery consumption
These two symptoms often go hand in hand when malware runs on a device. See below for how to perform a system reset to clear your memory and storage, as well as remove malware.

5. Unusual noise or static on your phone connection
This is a telltale sign that a surveillance app is spying on your phone conversations.

6. Funny Voicemail Messages or Text Messages
Receiving messages and calls from unknown parties are major indicators that access to your phone has been compromised.

remove malware

Resetting or restoring your smartphone is one of the most effective ways to remove suspected malware. Before you waste time and money buying and downloading so called mobile security solutions, do this. Like most battery saver and memory clearing apps, they are pretty much useless.

When finished with these steps you will need to set up your phone again.

Follow these steps to reset your Android smartphone:

Make sure your data is backed up to Google Drive or a comparable solution (see below). Backing up to Google Drive isn’t a requirement, but it’s an easy way to proceed. You need to at least make a backup of your personal data. Otherwise, a copy of your data that was on the device prior to resetting will no longer exist.

  • Open Settings and select System
  • choose reset option
  • Select Erase All Data (Factory Reset)
  • Select reset phone at the bottom
  • When prompted to confirm that you want to do a factory reset, tap Erase Everything.
  • Re-download and install your apps from Google Play

Follow these steps to reset your iPhone:

Back up your data using iCloud or any of the other solutions listed below. However, make sure that your stored iCloud data is not infected.

  • Go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone
  • Tap “Erase All Content and Settings” to clear all apps and data – again, make sure you back up your data to iCloud or to a local drive!
  • Restart your iPhone and set it up again
  • Re-download and install your apps from the App Store

We cannot stress enough to make a backup copy of your data.

You will not have access to the data on your device before the reset. So please understand that backing up your data is your only defense against losing it.

Alternative backup locations not mentioned above are Microsoft’s OneDrive or other cloud storage service you use, an XD card in the device, your local computer, or external media such as a USB drive.