Skip to main content

The Quick Secret to Making Millions

"It's a fair cop", I said, standing in front of some 600 delegates and assembled police officers from as far away as New Zealand, Vietnam, Panama and Pakistan. "The blogger, Lord Matt of the 'Thanet Star' revealed last year that I'm involved in 'shady internet activities', gambling and casual sex websites and so I'm turning myself in to anyone who cares to arrest me."

Other than a few laughs from the audience, nobody stepped forward to put the cuffs on me but they know where I live and I expect the knock on my front door any moment now!

Back to business then and I wanted to share the attached screenshot for readers' attention.

It's the home page of a real website although you need a special invitation from a reputable serious and organised crime contact to be able to access it. Think of it as eBay with a powerful underground economy slant.



This is one of many such operations running-out of the old Soviet Union and with global links to a criminal harvesting exercise across the internet economies. The scale of such operations is now so large, and so sophisticated that I struggle to picture it. What I can say is that it's now reportedly larger than the cocaine industry.

To cut a long story short, these guys will, among other scams, pay a commission - see screen-shot of their business terms & conditions - on any information stealing package that is planted on your own computer, normally a percentage of what they can steal in terms of financial information or identity. The tools are now so advanced that even an online transaction can be intercepted as it happens and in Germany, worryingly, even the account statements on the bank's website have been altered, so as not to reveal what's happening. Normally, this involves business accounts though with larger credit limits. Just imagine something that looks like a bank's trading floor but instead of screens showing stock exchange transactions, instead it's screens alerting he operators to a whole range of different criminal opportunities on millions of PC's, such as personal bank transactions in progress.

As an example of such crimes, yesterday I received an email from one of my own suppliers:

"In late February 2010 we discovered that hackers had accessed our system containing our customer's credit card numbers and that as a result of this unlawful intrusion, certain customers received a nominal fake charge to their credit card by a company not associated with us. Immediately upon learning of this incident, we took steps to diligently investigate this matter and insure that the integrity of our system was restored. We have recently completed our investigation, and as a result of this investigation we believe only a small number of customers were impacted by this breach. However, out of an abundance of caution we are notifying everyone so that you can keep an eye on your credit card statements. You can be assured that we are taking this problem very seriously. A number of necessary steps have been taken to not only fix the source of this problem but also to prevent it from occurring again. We are committed to continue providing you the level of service you have known and trusted."

So my advice to anyone reading this is to make certain your antivirus software is right up-to-date. Preferably, run an update every day because I'm prepared to bet that a high percentage of readers, will have compromised systems and while their own information may not have been stolen they could find that they are in fact one part of a huge army of 'botnet' PC's that can be invisibly deployed against targets anywhere in the world, at a single keystroke

Popular posts from this blog

Mainframe to Mobile

Not one of us has a clue what the world will look like in five years’ time, yet we are all preparing for that future – As  computing power has become embedded in everything from our cars and our telephones to our financial markets, technological complexity has eclipsed our ability to comprehend it’s bigger picture impact on the shape of tomorrow.

Our intuition has been formed by a set of experiences and ideas about how things worked during a time when changes were incremental and somewhat predictable. In March 1953. there were only 53 kilobytes of high-speed RAM on the entire planet.

Today, more than 80 per cent of the value of FTSE 500* firms is ‘now dark matter’: the intangible secret recipe of success; the physical stuff companies own and their wages bill accounts for less than 20 per cent: a reversal of the pattern that once prevailed in the 1970s. Very soon, Everything at scale in this world will be managed by algorithms and data and there’s a need for effective platforms for ma…

The Big Steal

I’m not here to predict the future;” quipped the novelist, Ray Bradbury. “I’m here to prevent it.” And the future looks much like one where giant corporations who hold the most data, the fastest servers, and the greatest processing power will drive all economic growth into the second half of the century.

We live in an unprecedented time. This in the sense that nobody knows what the world will look like in twenty years; one where making confident forecasts in the face of new technologies becomes a real challenge. Before this decade is over, business leaders will face regular and complex decisions about protecting their critical information and systems as more of the existing solutions they have relied upon are exposed as inadequate.

The few real certainties we have available surround the uninterrupted march of Moore’s Law - the notion that the number of transistors in the top-of-the-line processors doubles approximately every two years - and the unpredictability of human nature. Exper…

An Ockham of Gatwick

The 13th century theologian and philosopher, William of Ockham, who once lived in his small Surrey village, not so very far from what is today, the wide concrete expanse of Gatwick airport is a frequently referenced source of intellectual reason. His contribution to modern culture was Ockham’s Razor, which cautions us when problem solving, that “The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct;” sound advice which constantly proves to be true.

A week further-on since Britain’s second busiest airport was bought to a complete standstill by two or perhaps two hundred different drone sightings, it is perhaps time to revisit William of Ockham’s maxim, rather than be led astray by an increasingly bizarre narrative, one which has led Surrey police up several blind alleys with little or nothing in the way of measurable results.

 Exploring the possibilities with a little help in reasoning from our medieval friar, we appear to have a choice of two different account…