Cybercriminals increasing attacks rich people homes: this is how security companies protect them - An heiress is constantly outgunned in a lawsuit, no matter how sophisticated the legal strategy their lawyers use, the other party seems to always anticipate it, with millions of euros at stake.
No matter how much preparation he employs, he cannot overcome his adversaries. The heiress works with her lawyers, who propose strategies from her laptops or iPads and she responds from her old desktop computer in one of her homes.
"Wait a minute, they may be reading our emails," thinks the heiress.
He gets in touch with Aristo Cyber Defense, One of the new boutique cybersecurity services that are specializing in protecting the personal lives of rich and famous people from hackers.
There you go. The old desktop computer had a sophisticated malware program prepared to send data from its network to an external system, Aristo discovered and explained.
Welcome to the new Battle of cybersecurity, where cybercriminals attack the ultra-strong in their mansions.
Hackers are targeting the homes of executives, movie stars, billionaires or professional athletes, whose residences are filled with unsafe laptops, tablets, phones and Internet of Things devices. Especially while they have been confined to their mansions by the pandemic, megarricos have begun to hire cybersecurity companies that are offering them defensive systems similar to those used by listed companies and even some small countries, several companies in the sector assure.
"Domicile is the new battleground, and for executives or people with significant wealth, that means they're getting intrusions into their personal and family lives," says BlackCloak CEO Chris Pierson, whose company is focused exclusively on delivering cybersecurity services to the most powerful.
In its latest research, BlackCloak has found that 39% of the rich already have cybersecurity gaps and malware installed on their personal devices, or cameras in their insecure homes that do not even have a password.
Cybercriminals increasing attacks rich people homes
Mike Jansen, a veteran cybersecurity investor whose firm, DataTribe VC, invests in BlackCloak, believes this firm is serving an important market. "Why try to attack companies like Exxon, when you can get into their CEO's personal device at home with their home network?", it is questioned.
There is more data that supports this intuition. Verizon's Data Breach Investigations Report— the most respected annual survey for the telco's vast access to data-found that cyber espionage on executives was one of the industry's trends over the past year, to the point that they are twelve times more targeted than other workers. Whaling, a form of phishing —a type of computer scam that tries to obtain sensitive user data, such as bank account numbers— in which hackers directly attack high-level executives with emails that appear to be from close contacts, is also on the rise.
"Executives, who usually have little time and a lot of pressure, often quickly review emails or have assistants do it for them, which makes it easier for them to get caught by suspicious mail," say Verizon specialists.
Last week, a leading cybersecurity company, Another services company and an insurer announced a partnership to give people with high assets something that even many businesses thought they wouldn't need a few years ago: cybersecurity insurance in case they had a ransomware attack, as computer applications that hijack their victim's data are called and ask for an economic amount in return.
Insurer Aon has expanded its cyber Security Select product to include IT security for " high-net-worth individuals and executives," aimed at those with more than 40 million euros in assets, in a collaboration with insurer Aspen Insurance and cybersecurity firm NortonLifeLock.
"A breach of personal data can lead to a campaign of extortion, financial losses or many other costs," says Aon's chief cybersecurity officer in North America, Christian Hoffman.
Just a few years ago, many companies didn't even take out insurance against cybersecurity risks, but ransomware has changed that. Right now, many small and medium-sized companies are investing in protecting their assets in case a group of hackers could disrupt their activity or try to make their data public.
Ransomware extortion, in which Crimeans steal files and publish them if they do not receive an amount, has already revealed secrets of well-known characters. In May, a REvil malware attack exposed several legal documents, including a contract dispute between Madonna and Jay Z, A settlement between Lady Gaga and home exercise company SoulCycle over her workouts, or documents that showed a former TV star who worked with Donald Trump intended to cash in on his presidential campaign.
A jeweler who works for the stars of Los Angeles was affected by several phishing emails that installed tools on his computer with which hackers could know his mail exchanges with celebrities. When customers told him they were sending him a payment for a ring or bracelet, the hackers sent an email posing as him and substituted his bank account for another, resulting in a haul of more than dólares 100,000 (84,000 euros), according to ARISTO.
In another case, a retired executive set up an office to invest in one of his addresses to be able to control his investments on different screens. Like many other mansions, the building was controlled by security cameras, including one that pointed directly at the computer screen from which it made transactions. Since it had no password, the camera perfectly showed the investments of the former executive in such a way that they were easy to attack by any hacker. BlackCloak says they have not come to know if any cybercriminals attacked him before they helped this person to put more security in his home.
"We have hundreds of stories like this," says Pierson, CEO of Blackcloak, who was previously the Privacy Officer of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
A member of an NFL team asked Aristo for his services, and the cybersecurity company asked him if he wanted to protect his tactics from possible spying on other teams. The team representative laughed out loud: "anyone knows our tactics." The company's vice president of cybersecurity, Cory Swartzbaugh, recalls the representative saying,"what we want is that hackers do not access the contacts of the team owner." No one clarified the motive.
Many of these stories are scary. Both Blackcloak and Aristo have found malware on children's home devices, with which their photos and videos could be extracted by hackers.
How much do these boutique cybersecurity services cost? Aristo assures that some of its services cost about 2,500 euros (3,000 dollars) per device per year.
For Aon, these types of products are of the type "if you have to ask, it is that you can not afford it," as a spokesman for the company told Business Insider who explained that his company "does not share premium data publicly."
Cybercriminals increasing attacks rich people homes
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The sale of Uber's troubled autonomous car division could be the next step in the company's career for leaving behind the philosophy of growth at all costs
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has spent the past three years reversing the "growth at all costs" strategy followed by his predecessor at the position Travis Kalanick, exiting markets and disposing of businesses that have weighed on the company's accounts without offering in return a significant long-term profit.
His next step, according to TechCrunch, could be the sale of Uber's autonomous vehicle unit, Advanced Technologies Group (ATG). The most likely buyer is startup Aurora Innovation, which is backed by Amazon and led by former Google head of autonomous driving Chris Urmson. TechCrunch published earlier this month that the deal has not been closed, but that talks between the two companies are "very advanced."
The sale of ATG would mark a profound shift from Kalanick's perspective on autonomous driving. In 2016, the former CEO assured Business Insider that being a leader in the autonomous car race was a matter of life and death for Uber.
"If we are not tied for first place, then the person in that first place, or the entity in first place, will deploy a network of cars with driver much cheaper or higher quality than Uber, then Uber will be nothing," Kalanick said at the time.
Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst at Guidehouse Insights who covers the mobility and autonomous vehicle sector, points out to Business Insider that the news from TechCrunch surprised him.
"I'm not sure why Aurora would want them," Abuelsamid points out.