We all grew up with some level of fear from the boogeyman living in our closets or under our beds, but as we matured, we started to realize that there was no such thing as the boogeyman, and our fears grew up as well. As grown-ups, we don't fear silly things like the boogeyman. We fear authentic things such as loss of income, bad health, and if we're business owners, we fear the loss of our business. As much as I hate to say this, the adult version of the boogeyman is real and living inside something we rely on every day: the internet.
So maybe our boogeyman isn't an evil supernatural being lurking under our bed, but the evil exists and is multiplied across the globe, lying in wait to take your life. Wait, scratch that, your livelihood. This evil army of boogeymen (and women) are scattered across the dark corners of the internet and they’re baiting you and your employees with fraudulent emails and links to snare you in their trap.
To help you understand how this works a little bit better, let’s get to know one of these boogeymen. We'll call him Mike, and for this fictional interview, he wears a white mask.
Interviewer: How did you get into hacking?
Mike: I started learning how to write code from a young age in school. I think I was about 7. My classroom always seemed to have the latest technology, and everything was in English. This didn't make much sense to me because we are in the middle of China and in a poorer province. But throughout my education, I was taught how to use code and get past security protocols. At some point, I was given a task to write a piece of code from a 'handler', which I did, and then a few months later, I received a paycheck for my work. I am not really sure how I started, but the pay was more than I had ever seen before in my life. I just kept getting work and money, so I just evolved into a hacker.
Interviewer: Did you ever wonder where the money came from?
Mike: Not at first because I was feeding my family with the money. I did wonder about that, and I have my suspicions, but I dare not ask questions.
Interviewer: Do you still receive work from your 'handler'?
Mike: On occasion. But I found that I can make much more money if I write my own software. My 'handler' work is more about my duty, but the real money is in the ransomware I create and put out myself.
Interviewer: So, you are fully aware of what your ransomware does and how it affects people?
Mike: Absolutely. My victims have first-world problems, but I needed to feed my family.
Interviewer: So, that new Bugatti that I saw in your driveway is 'feeding your family?'
Mike: Ha, you saw that? I said, 'needed' as in past tense. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get Kobe Beer here in China? It's expensive! I still need to feed my family, but their tastes have evolved.
Interviewer: So, do you feel any guilt about holding people ransom for their data?
Mike: Not at all. I used to, though. The way I see it, if people make it so easy and do not learn how to protect themselves, then I have no remorse. It's almost like they are asking for it.
Interviewer: So, the business owner that loses their business because you have encrypted all their data and they can't afford to pay you… you feel nothing?
Mike: Nothing at all. And even if they pay me, I will try to go after them again.
Interviewer: I guess that means you're never going to stop?
Mike: Why would I? I like money just like anyone else. Plus, it's a rush when I encrypt someone's files.
Interviewer: Do you target specific companies?
Mike: On occasion, I do, but more for a challenge. The beautiful thing about my ransomware is that once I put it out on the net, it randomly infects businesses and personal computers; I just sit back and wait for the money to roll in.
Interviewer: Are you ever worried you'll get caught?
Mike: Hahaha, by who? The local authorities don't care, and I don't plan on going to any of the countries I target. Plus, how would anyone prove it? You can't see my face, and you don't know who I am or where I am.
Interviewer: Final question: how much money have you actually made?
Mike: Well, I use Bitcoin for all my ransom payments. Right now, I have roughly 153 Bitcoins from ransoms, which is about 10 million U.S. dollars.
Interviewer: Well, thank you, Mike, for the interview
Keep in mind that this was all just an imaginary interview, but it's our job at Bit-Wizards to get into the minds of hackers so we can better understand how to protect businesses from this type of attack. Hackers have no remorse or empathy for you. They only care about money. So don't let your business be the next victim of the Virtual Boogeyman. Give Bit-Wizards a call today to better protect yourself and your business.