when hackers target the family of business leaders

when hackers target the family of business leaders
when hackers target the family of business leaders

In an attempt to exact a ransom, hackers increasingly tend to attack the relatives of their real victims.

The love you have for a loved one, your friends or your family is likely one of the decisive elements that could force you to pay a cybercriminal who seeks to ransom you. This is what emerges from a Mandiant investigation, revealed during a conference in San Francisco and relayed by The Register.

Relatives of major leaders targeted

According to data collected by the company’s technical director, Charles Carmakal, ransomware is first and foremost “a psychological attack” against the victim and more generally their loved ones.

He cites examples such as number theft to make business executives believe that their child is calling them. To do this, hackers obtain a new SIM card from an operator, claiming a problem with the previous one or the loss of their smartphone. Once they have the child’s number, the thieves then call the parent who will naturally pick up and realize that it is someone else. A powerful “psychological effect” to make people believe in a kidnapping, and thus make the recalcitrant boss give in to paying a ransom.

The Mandiant expert says that it is now a question of protecting both the company’s customers, but also those close to them, and mainly their family. A change deemed “scary” by the person concerned.

Ransomware is malware that can partially or completely prevent the victim from accessing their data unless they decide to pay a ransom. With the proliferation of attempts, and companies collaborating more and more with the authorities, blackmail also remains an excellent way for hackers to achieve their ends.

Mandiant’s John Hulquist also explained that cybercrime has evolved primarily since the advent of cryptocurrencies: “It gradually took us from hacking to extortion before metastasizing and getting worse.” Clearly, no one is safe, but the children of great leaders are called upon to exercise caution.

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