Cybercrime Moves Out of Mom's Basement, Into the Office

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Nov 3, 2016

When you think of a cybercriminal, you might be thinking of a sweatpants and hoodie-clad geek typing away at his laptop in the basement of his unsuspecting parents, ensconced in a nest of empty Red Bull cans and half-eaten Hot Pockets. While that may have been the case once, a noted cybersecurity expert said that today's cybercriminals more resemble white collar professionals who've doffed the anime t-shirt in favor of the three-piece suit, according to

The article cites Steve Meckl, director of America's incident response for the cybersecurity services team at Symantec, who said that the days of small packs of hackers driving cybercrime are mostly in the past. Nowadays, according to Meckl, cybercriminals are part of large organizations that might resemble any number of legitimate professional firms. As opposed to the more daring images of hacking groups with names like TEH 3l337, the people locking your servers and demanding $100,000 in Bitcoin are more like employees: they get up, get in their cars, drive to the office, make a joke about Mondays as they get their morning coffee, and then hunker down for a full day of work much like any other office employee. The difference, of course, is that they're not making money—they steal it. The organizations themselves, meanwhile, make capital investments like legitimate companies, though in this case those investments take the form of things like bigger and badder malware: Meckl noted that right now crypto-ransomware is hot in the cybercrime sector and so these criminal organizations are making significant investments in it. 

He did not mention whether these workers also have retirement plans and health benefits, including full dental and vision. 

He also offered an explanation as to why so many of these outfits seem to originate from former Soviet-bloc states. First, he said, there's a good deal of native technical proficiency in these areas. Second, though, is that the it's difficult to extradite people from these countries to the U.S., which makes them feel safe enough to be more bold in their attacks. 

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