It appears that our online criminal element has become a bit more sophisticated than one might expect. Certainly there have always been smart criminals out there, but this latest finding really boggles the mind. Thomas Holt, a criminologist from Michigan State University, has discovered that some criminals are using an online marketplace to market stolen credit card information. This group would use an online forum to ask for criminal help such as money laundering or even data. They would then send and receive money electronically.
These criminals were clearly advanced according to Holt, as it showed the capabilities of advanced criminal thinking. This was not a bunch of kids trying to hack sites.
Have you ever gotten emails from someone asking about email, username or password information? This is called phishing and it is what criminals like this depend on. These criminals will steal information from major retailers, banks or other sources. Once they have this information, they will then send out these emails posing as your bank or website retailer.
These criminals are very good at looking realistic. Do not be fooled. If anyone emails you asking for username or password information, it is not going to be your bank. This also includes those times when they give you a “link” to go and change your password. They are probably either giving you malware or sending you to a site where they can get what they need.
These scams have been around for years, but they are getting smarter if you listen to this study. It seems amazing that they are able to use a forum online to advertise our stolen information. Seriously? They can steal our information and then have a mini-marketplace to get the highest price for it? No wonder our paranoid society is only getting worse.
These criminals even have a sort of “moderation” in place. When someone comes on to complain or say something that might rock the criminal boat, a “manager” will then come along and delete their comments. We would not want anyone messing up business, eh?
Until the law finds an effective method of tracking these folks down, we need to be very aware of what we do with our information. It is not something that we need to be paranoid about, but we have to keep our online habits secure. This means only sharing information through secure channels, not surfing the bad places and ignoring those nasty things that pop up in our emails. That would be an excellent start.
We have to be smarter than the criminals, right?