A basic computer setup connected to the internet grants a malicious hacker the power to steal sensitive information, affect a company’s stock value, and hold corporations to a ransom with the click of a mouse. The advent of anonymizing technologies such as the Tor network and virtual cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are taken advantage of by cybercriminals to operate in clandestine ways.
The reality is this: the wired infrastructure we rely upon where everything from a nuclear reactor to a Wall Street firm can be hacked into merely for being connected to the internet has opened a whole new world of possibilities to criminals operating on the Internet. A ransom demand or a threat over an email was the natural step in the evolution of criminals on the Internet operating in anonymity.
Recent report says CSO salaries could reach a quarter of a million dollars.
A notable example of a cyber extortion in the past year is the much-publicized Ashley Madison data breach, an incident that will forever remain in infamy – particularly due to the sensitive data obtained by hackers. Threatening a company with blackmail following a breach of data of over 30 million customers whose personal details and private secrets were obtained from breached servers does make for substantially rewarding extortion opportunity.