July 29, 2011

CSO on the Road: How a Remote Town in Romania Has Become Cybercrime Central

Jason Clark

Recently, I was speaking with a CSO of a major corporation and the topic of how much money is made with cybercrime came up. Now, many of us talk about the proliferation of easily monetizable cybercrime, but because it is an invisible enemy, some people have trouble understanding the threat. I wanted to quickly share with you a great article that should be required reading for everyone in IT security: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/01/ff_hackerville_romania/all/1

The story covers the evolution of the small town of Râmnicu Vâlcea, Romania and how it went from having “a decades-old chemical plant and a modest tourism industry” to become what the article calls “Cybercrime Central.”

How many more little towns are out there that will look to this as an example of how to pave the streets with the money pilfered from individuals and your companies? As broadband access expands in areas such as Africa, Central America and other areas beginning to build out their online infrastructure, the potential for many little Râmnicu Vâlcea’s dotting the globe is turning into a reality.  It doesn’t even have to be in a developing nation, in the US, Canada, Europe, the infrastructure is already in place. How much does it take a town to turn to this? The closing of a local plant? Prolonged recession and rising food prices?

The fact is, it is becoming easier and easier for bad guys to make money on the internet, and the proliferation of exploit kits just lower the barrier for entry that much more.

Take a look at this story and let me know what you think. I have written in this blog before about government and public sector cooperation, and it is going to take even more than that in the future.  We also are going to need broader cross-government collaboration to combat the next waves of international cybercrime to prevent cities like Râmnicu Vâlcea from appearing in every nation.

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