Hello! You don’t know me; and just so you know, my intent is you never do. We have become acquaintances through a business associate of mine. Well I say business associate, what I actually mean is I bought a stack of stolen data from a vendor on the Dark Web. I have no idea who he is, it just so happens the data file had your email details. I love the dark web, it is soooo easy to buy things these days. It’s even simpler than popping down to the supermarket, and certainly safer during these Covid times.
Why is your personal data for sale on the Dark Web? Well you can blame any number of businesses for that. Chances are they did not invest and resource appropriately the security of your data and were then subject to a cyber breach by some of my fellow hacker comrades. My comrades are now making money selling your data to any criminal like me who wants to buy it on the Dark Web.
Oh, and it’s not just your email address, it’s your associated password, address, mobile number, IP address and any number of other bits of information – really useful in my line of work. I wonder whether your business or employer is easily hackable – note to self, now that I have you email, I should check that later.
A little bit about me. I don’t live in your country, but now I have your email and password I can access your life as easily as if I lived next door. I work for myself and from home – don’t we all these days… LoL. I don’t keep normal office hours, I operate 24/7; and actually, I outsource a lot of my work to my digital workforce – it’s a computer algorithm really, but I think of them as my team. What is it that I do? Well thanks for asking. I am interested in you; your business; who you know, who they know and what I can steal from any or all of you. Just so you know, this is not personal. You are not special. You are merely one of a number of individuals I am getting to know. I really am a people person; I just don’t like meeting or talking to you.
One thing that fascinates me is the inherent laziness and naivety of human nature. I love the fact that most people think “Oh it won’t happen to me…”. Silly, silly!! If your information is breached on the Dark Web, it is already happening to you. You just don’t know it. And not only by me, but any number of other hacker lovies that have bought your data.
Oh, before I forget, thank you for keeping your password the same for your email, your social media accounts and the majority of your other account logins. I do appreciate it; you make my job much easier. It really helps me to get to know all about my acquaintances quicker, and make new friends through you and your network of business associates, friends and family. Sharing is caring! It also saves me money by not having to buy more data on the Dark Web. We all need to tighten our belts during these difficult times. Right!?! Also, thank you for not installing multi-factor authentication on your accounts. You have no idea how much it helps to make sure we never meet, and you have no idea what I am doing. Again, most grateful.
Just a quick overview on how I see our relationship developing. Now that I have access to your email, I am going to set up an auto-forward rule on all your email traffic. My team and I are going to record your business and personal contacts and start “making friends” with them. We are going to review the contents of your emails to establish what information you deal with that may be of value to me, or I can sell on. I am also interested to see whether any monetary transactions are passing through your account. If so, I may contact the payer, simulating your witty and elegant writing style, and inform them that you have updated your bank account details. Clearly these will be my bank account details.
Just so you know, I have real commitment issues and an acute fear of getting caught. When I decide our relationship has no more value I am going to move on. It’s not you, it’s me. As a parting gift, I might infect your device with ransomware so I can bribe you for one last payment. Think of it as something to remember me by. We’ll see…
Oh, one last thing, please do not change your password. I am making a pretty penny selling your details on, so my friends can also make friends with you.
Michael Wills is co-founder and chief data officer for CSS Platinum.
Want to learn more about how a cybercriminals aim to trick and manipulate the maritime community?
Join us on Wednesday 31st March 2021 for our webinar event ‘Under the Radar’ where our esteemed panel from ACREW, IYBA and Darktrace will show and discuss how cybercriminals target, manipulate and trick individuals and organisations.
Learn more at https://cssplatinum.com/under-the-radar/