How did you decide to become a hacker?
“I’m not really sure what it means to become a hacker. Sounds like some guy in a hoodie who types really fast, and stays up all night writing code and cracking passwords. That’s not me. I just spy on people and see what makes them click. It’s not a bad job.”
So, you consider this a job?
“I put a lot of work into this. I’m not lazy. It takes research to figure out the key players and learn all about them, their families, their friends, what they care about. You have to understand the company’s organization. I get a lot of my information from the sales department because they’re always so quick and eager—They’re hungry. People trust too easily. They don’t look at the details. I do. Details matter. That’s what I’m good at. It has to look completely believable. It has to look familiar. This is where research is important. It’s not some generic piece of spam. It’s an email from their boss with their company signature. It’s written in the voice of the boss. It’s what he would say if he was writing this.”
What about the malware itself? How does it work?
“Somebody out there already wrote all the code that does the actual attack. I’m just using the attachments. My skills and ability are getting a bunch of people to click on that attachment. I always wonder what it’s like when the whole thing unfolds on their end when the panic sets in.”
Do you feel bad about releasing all the personal information, all the financials, the money that was lost?
“All I did was get the files. I’m not the one who decided to release them. I’m not the one who shorted the stock. Somebody else had their reasons for that. That’s above my pay grade. I was paid to do a job, and I did it well. And that’s what’s expected of anyone, isn’t it? Anyway, markets bounce back.”
The FBI says ransomware will be a $1 billion dollar market this year.
Ransomware is the most malicious and frequently used form of malware today.
The best way to protect your organization from ransomware is to prevent it from landing on your computers in the first place.
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Ransomware attacks are on the rise. It’s part of the top 10 threat predictions by security experts around the world. And for businesses that are victimized, the consequences can be paralyzing and destructive. When ransomware infects your computers or mobile devices, you’ll be denied access to your computer and may even lose your data.
Ransomware blocks access to your data and demand payment through an anonymous system like Bitcoin to restore access. In the past few years many large and small businesses, government agencies and private users have been victims of ransomware. The criminals who distribute and operate these attacks are making millions of dollars. They extort money from you in exchange for a promise to unlock your computer files.
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