WE all know that hacking has become a mainstream problem for businesses and consumers. But we perhaps didn't anticipate how mainstream some hackers would become in how they run their operations.
A notorious cyber crime collective known as the Dark Overlord recently posted an online job looking for tech employees. Specifically, the Dark Overlord is seeking to hire software designers and systems engineers with at least 10 years' experience to “bring innovative approaches to operations and think outside the box”.
If you thought that hacking and cyber crime was an alternative subculture of young people in hoodies with keyboards, you maybe need to think again. Hacking groups now appear to be businesses of sorts, and some of them are adopting the language and recruiting techniques of the mainstream.
According to the remarkably corporate job posting discovered by the cyber-threat intelligence company Digital Shadows, The Dark Overlord is looking to fill the last of four vacant positions with a candidate that has “a winning attitude.”
Job requirements included experience with Windows and Linux as well as expertise in Unix-based design and network management and penetration testing. New employees would be paid £50,000 monthly, plus add-ons and a likely pay increase to £70,000 pounds monthly after two years.
For those who don't know, The Dark Overlord is a notorious online extortion gang that regularly steals data and then attempts to ransom it back to victims. Anyone who doesn't comply gets threatened with the full data set being leaked, with the group often trying to increase the pressure on victims by trickling out the stolen data.
The Dark Overlord first made headlines when it successfully blackmailed Netflix after stealing unaired episodes of ‘Orange is the New Black.'
The gang is one of a large number of cyber crime players that continue to use darknet forums to seek fresh recruits, sell stolen data, and advertise hacking services.
And it's essential that all businesses have some level of understanding of what these kinds of groups do. The Dark Overlord's job ads may have sparked attention as they are quirky and unusual. But they are not to be laughed at. These groups pose a real threat to all kinds of companies, large and small.
The reality is that cyber crime has gone mainstream, but can the same be said for cyber security? Are businesses taking cyber crime seriously enough yet and putting in place appropriate measures to protect themselves?
The level of cyber crime and cyber espionage is increasing and is becoming more and more complex. This means that businesses need to keep up with the threat. But it also provides an opportunity.
Start-ups can play a crucial role in creating solutions, and that's an opening for Northern Ireland. There is a growing demand from the business community and governments for innovative solutions for cyber security issues. It is extremely important that start-ups jump into that gap.
The Dark Overload is recruiting employees to do his evil deeds. Businesses need to recruit the expertise to stop him eating their lunch. And society needs a new crop of emerging businesses to come up with the solutions to help protect businesses and people into the future.