It looks like the use of profitable malware fraud attacks is helping cybercriminals to remain one step ahead of authorities.
In the release of its first Cyber Crime Assessment report on Thursday (July 7), the U.K.’s National Crime Agency (NCA) said that police and businesses are losing the “cyber arms race” to these sophisticated criminals.
According to the data, the most significant and advanced threat to the U.K. is actually from a small group of international crooks that use “highly profitable” malware to fuel cyberattacks. These organized gangs of criminals are able to launch attacks directly at both businesses and individuals.
“The NCA estimates that the cost of cybercrime to the U.K. economy is billions of pounds per annum — and growing. Although estimates of the cost of cybercrime vary considerably, our view is consistent with that of other industry analyses,” the report stated.
“In any calculation, we must consider that there are millions of individual victims, many thousands of corporate victims and correspondingly substantial losses.”
Despite the growing threat of sophisticated crime groups, the report also showed that the majority of cybercriminals use low-tech means to carry out their activities.
But the onset of increasingly popular criminal marketplaces help these less skilled fraudsters to up their game with access to tools, resources and expert information.
Earlier this year, data from a report by security company Dell SecureWorks showed that business is booming for underground hacker marketplaces, where illegal vendors provide the tools and goods needed to enable malicious schemes and cybercriminal activities.
According to the report, advertisements — ranging from “DDOS attacks for as low as $5 USD an hour” to “Online tutorials from $20 USD that cover DDOS attacks, cracking Wi-Fi, Crypters and much more” — are just a sample of the offerings posted across the underground marketplace, which it describes as growing bigger, more sophisticated and competitive.
The intelligence analysts found that malware is becoming “much cheaper and continues to offer a low barrier to entry for cybercriminals looking to steal information,” posing an even greater threat to unsuspecting groups, consumers, private organizations and the government.