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Online Security: These Are Today's Top 8 Cyber-Crime Trends According to Europol


In its Internet Organized Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA) report released today, Europol has detailed today's top 8 most prevalent cybercrime trends, for which investigators have seen a rise in detected incidents since the start of the year.


The report, which highlights an upward trend for volume, scope and material cost of cybercrime, comes on the heels of UK authorities announcing earlier in the year that cybercrime has surpassed traditional crime for the first time in their country's history.


#1: Crime-as-a-Service

Europol says that the digital underground is shifting towards a Crime-as-a-Service business model, with various individuals and groups specializing in a niche crime and providing technical support and service for that crime alone using online services.


From illegal weapons sales to on-demand hacks, and from DDoS-for-Hire services to exploit kit packages, you can buy online almost any type of cybercrime service these days.


#2: Ransomware

If you read Softpedia's Security News section, you can hardly go one day without reading a report on ransomware-related topics. Besides ransomware, Europol also says that banking trojans have been a popular form of malware this year as well.


#3: The criminal use of data

Recent hacks and data breaches have thrust troves of data in the public eye, which crooks are leveraging for other hacks, fraud, and even extortion.


#4: Payment fraud

Europol says it received a large number of fraud complaints, which were traced back to organized crime groups hacking ATMs, EMV, and contactless (NFC) cards.


#5: Online child sexual abuse

The large number of online tools and services providing complex and unbreakable end-to-end encryption, along with anonymous payments supported via crypto-currencies has resulted in "an escalation in the live streaming of child abuse."


#6: Abuse of the Darknet

More and more crime-related activities have now moved to the Darknet (or Dark Web), a portion of the Internet for which you need special software like Tor and I2P to access. Criminals are taking advantage of the anonymity these networks provide to go about their business unabated.


#7: Social engineering

Europol says that spear-phishing incidents aimed at high-value targets have gone up in 2016, and it highlights the increase in CEO fraud (BEC scams) attacks.


#8: Virtual currencies

Europol says Bitcoin has become the de-facto standard currency for extortion payments. This is also the reason why Europol established a Bitcoin Money Laundering Division earlier this month.