How do cyber criminals work, why can't they do without good customer service and what can we do against them?
You enter your office unsuspectingly in the morning, make a cup of coffee and start up the computer. When you open the business software, you are shocked to discover that nothing works anymore. At first you think it's a temporary outage, but soon you see a message that doesn't make you happy: “Dear customer, you have been hacked. In order to be able to use your company network again, we ask you to pay us € 100,000 within 7 working days. Do you have any questions or need help? Please feel free to contact our customer service. Kind regards, the cybercriminal.”
What is cybercrime?
Cybercrime comes in many shapes and sizes, but is usually aimed at invading IT systems with malicious intentions. This can be done on a personal level, such as phishing emails or the well-known WhatsApp messages from people pretending to be someone else. But it also takes place at an organizational level: cyber criminals, for example, try to shut down an organization's business network.
How do cyber criminals work?
Cybercriminals are no longer 'attic room individuals' who want to earn some extra money. They are professional organizations that are run like a business. To give you an idea of how they work, we have divided their working method into 3 phases.
Phase 1: research and development
This first phase determines who they will attack and what the strategy is. When there is a clear plan of attack, the weapons are collected: in this case, for example, ransomware, software that can be used to hold a computer or network hostage. How do cyber criminals get this illegal software? You may not believe it, but they often buy it in special 'hackers stores' on the dark web where you can shop for ready-made software. Once cybercriminals find the right software, they hide the malicious file in an innocent-looking document.
Phase 2: marketing
As a cybercriminal, you have invested in software and skillfully hidden it in another file. Then of course it would be a shame if no one fell into your trap. Therefore, cybercriminals use methods that are actually very similar to marketing techniques used by e-commerce companies. For example, they send emails to a list of potential 'customers' or they use social media to reach their target group.
Phase 3: hostage situation
When someone accidentally falls into the trap and installs the software, the cybercriminals have access to a computer, phone or an entire corporate network. Without the user realizing it, they then encrypt all the software. In order to use the device or system again, a sum of money must be paid for decryption, usually in Bitcoin. In most cases, they do leave a message with a telephone number or contact details, if the hacked person needs help.
Cybercriminals' customer service
Many hacked people or organizations want to get back online as quickly as possible. But to do this, they need the cybercriminal: he has to remove the encryption from the software. So it may sound crazy, but cyber criminals cannot do without good customer service. For example, they help the customer with their payment, assist in decrypting the software and sometimes even provide free advice on how to do it more securely in the future - if that is not a service!
Can cybercrime be prevented?
Cybercrime is a growing problem that is not easy to tackle. Cyber criminals often operate from abroad and are able to cleverly avoid being traced. In addition, they have clever ways to launder the money they earn without leaving traces. However, as an individual or organization you can make it a lot more difficult for cyber criminals to get you. You do this by using strong and different passwords, regularly backing up your system (save it offline) and always updating your software in a timely manner.
Are you or do you know a cybercriminal who would benefit from a very customer-friendly all-in-one customer service environment? Then please feel free... Hopefully we don't have to explain to you that cybercriminals have come to the wrong place! But if you do have a legal business and are curious whether Belco is something for you, please feel free to contact us ortry the software for free and without obligation.