Cyber criminals thrive in India’s IT capital

Cyber criminals seem to be thriving in India’s IT capital; in the last four months alone, Bengalureans lost Rs 32 crore to various online scams. A 39-year-old woman was the biggest victim—a fraudulent suitor who befriended her through a matrimonial website made away with Rs 33 lakh.

The cybercrime police station of the Bengaluru city police has recorded a staggering 3,180 cases in four months since mid-January.

Last year, Sumathi (name changed) from Jayanagar had registered with a well-known marriage portal to find a match. Little did she know that the prince charming who approached her as a UK-based Indian doctor expressing interest to settle down with her in Bengaluru was an online imposter. He got her into parting her hard-earned money through numerous online transfers.

“She was lured by an exciting gift packet the man claimed to have sent from the UK. Then came the false excuse of Indian customs officials seizing the gift for duty. She fell for it and transferred lakhs of rupees, trusting the man who trapped her with sweet words and promise of marriage in a brief period,” said an officer.

Rise in matrimonial fraud

Sumathi is one among the many victims of online imposters who’ve siphoned off Rs 32 crore since February through various techniques—credit card skimming, vishing, phishing, e-wallet scam, online car sales con, Facebook fraud, airline ticketing trickery and an array of other Nigerian scams. Matrimonial frauds topped the charts in the four months with hundreds of women being targeted by crooks, mainly through paid portals and Facebook messenger.

“Every day, we register close to 40 FIRs regarding bank frauds, including phishing, vishing and illegal money withdrawal from accounts through ATMs. People still fall prey to lottery fraud, the oldest trick in the trade,” said an officer. He said the cybercrime wing register nearly 1,000 FIRs a month.

Is making hacking unprofitable the key to cyber-security?

Billions are being lost to cyber-crime each year, and the problem seems to be getting worse. So could we ever create unhackable computers beyond the reach of criminals and spies? Israeli researchers are coming up with some interesting solutions.

The key to stopping the hackers, explains Neatsun Ziv, vice president of cyber-security products at Tel Aviv-based Check Point Security Technologies, is to make hacking unprofitable.

"We're currently tracking 150 hacking groups a week, and they're making $100,000 a week each," he tells the BBC.

"If we raise the bar, they lose money. They don't want to lose money."

This means making it difficult enough for hackers to break in that they choose easier targets.

And this has been the main principle governing the cyber-security industry ever since it was invented - surrounding businesses with enough armour plating to make it too time-consuming for hackers to drill through. The rhinoceros approach, you might call it.

But some think the industry needs to be less rhinoceros and more chameleon, camouflaging itself against attack.

"We need to bring prevention back into the game," says Yuval Danieli, vice president of customer services at Israeli cyber-security firm Morphisec.

"Most of the world is busy with detection and remediation - threat hunting - instead of preventing the cyber-attack before it occurs."

Morphisec - born out of research done at Ben-Gurion University - has developed what it calls "moving target security". It's a way of scrambling the names, locations and references of each file and software application in a computer's memory to make it harder for malware to get its teeth stuck in to your system.

The mutation occurs each time the computer is turned on so the system is never configured the same way twice. The firm's tech is used to protect the London Stock Exchange and Japanese industrial robotics firm Yaskawa, as well as bank and hotel chains.

Popular Android App being Tampered by Hackers to Disseminate Malware


In an attempt to disseminate Triout Android malware, attackers corrupted the widely used Android app in Google Play.
The new (corrupted) version of the app which delivers the malware was discovered by security researchers at Bitdefender. Reportedly, “com.psiphon3”, the app package which is known for giving uncensored access to the content on the internet was exploited by cybercriminals as they reconfigured it with spyware framework.
The threat actors decided to distribute the corrupted version of the app via third-party app stores instead of going conventional by delivering it via the Google Play store and to generate revenue, they tied up the app with Google Ads, Mopub Ads, InMobi Ads, and various other adware components.
 While hiding its presence into the device, Triout Android Malware is programmed to collect phone calls, record videos, take pictures, access text messages, and GPS. It transfers the gathered information to the hackers’ command and control server.
As per the researchers at Bitdefender, the original and the tainted app shares the same UI which means the criminals only inserted the Triout spyware component while tampering the app and they tampered v91 of the app which currently is running on v241.
Referencing from the findings of researchers, “The original legitimate application is advertised as a privacy tool that enables access to the open internet when bundled with the Triout spyware framework it serves the exact opposite purpose.”
 “While the Triout Android spyware framework itself does not seem to have undergone changes in terms of code or capabilities, the fact that new samples are emerging and that threat actors are using extremely popular apps to bundled the malware,”