We've all been guilty of binge-watching a favorite TV show. From financial masterminds laundering money for Mexican cartels in 'Ozark' to the DEA's fight against Colombian cartels in 'Narcos,' such shows often depict the allure of vast wealth as the driving force behind criminal behavior.
Recruiting in the Shadows
What's striking in these narratives is how criminal organizations often co-opt talent from legitimate sectors to augment their operations. This blurred line between legal and illicit business practices intensifies as the involved amounts of money increase, making the proposition enticing and entrepreneurial.
A recent Dice.com article, "Cybercriminals Increase Recruiting Tech and IT Pros Across the Darknet," highlights an emerging trend in the cybercrime industry. Cybercriminals are now actively seeking skilled professionals on the Darknet, offering competitive salaries, benefits, and flexible work schedules. The level of sophistication is such that one might find health insurance and retirement benefits akin to what any legitimate company would offer.
The Rise of Cybercrime Cartels?
Given the massive profits reaped by cybercriminals, it is worth pondering the emergence of organized, cartel-level cybercrime. Are legitimate cybersecurity professionals unknowingly being drawn into the fold of such organizations under the guise of bona fide business operations? The prospect of cybercriminal organizations using shell companies, akin to conventional organized crime groups, is not beyond the realm of possibility.
Indeed, cybersecurity researchers may be working under the belief that their work is entirely above board. Little may they suspect that the information they collect and share could be used to perpetrate cybercrime.
The Future: Coercion or Enticement?
It's intriguing to consider if a time may come when cybercriminal organizations might brazenly coerce researchers into their ranks or make offers too lucrative to resist. This unsettling prospect underscores the importance for lawful entities to attract and retain talented professionals to stay ahead in this ever-evolving cybercrime industry.
Given the escalating growth in the cybercrime market, the task of outpacing these illicit operations could become increasingly challenging, sparking a high-stakes race for talent and resources. As cybercrime becomes more professional, there is less and less space for companies to take a laissez-faire approach to cybersecurity.
The baseline defenses must be in place at every organization, whether large or small; anything less is just inviting a breach to happen. Cybercriminals are developing their capabilities and will get faster at spotting easy entrance points. We must work to extend these protections to every organization.