When we think of cybercriminals, many of us conjure images of dark alley bad actors navigating the inner workings of the web to steal data, ruin reputations, and wreak havoc, all for a handsome profit.

At times, these descriptions are accurate, but they also fail to acknowledge the advanced ecosystem of criminality that empowers these bad actors in the first place. Cybercriminals rely on complex supply chains to provide everything from sophisticated hacking hardware to simple software solutions.

According to a recent report, these technologies fall into three categories: services, distribution, and monetization, serving as a warning to companies that might appreciate their expansive scope and scale. In many ways, this is a critical insight for today’s companies, which already face steep financial and reputational consequences for cybersecurity failure.

Service supply chains provide threat actors with access to a robust menu of hacking tools, including access to login credentials, private proxy and VPN networks, and hosting infrastructure.

Most notably, these services include ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) groups that sell premade or customizable ransomware strains for easy deployment. What’s more, threat actors can easily obtain phishing kits, web-based tools that enable even moderately sophisticated cybercriminals to stand up a phishing website and deploy a campaign targeting specific companies or web platforms.

In other words, threat actors don’t have to develop highly-effective hacking tools on their own. Instead, they can rely on off-the-shelf products that make targeting companies affordable and efficient.

Of course, cybercrime is a revenue-based business, and the vast network of monetization services helps make hacking profitable. For instance, money laundering services provide threat actors with ready-made shell companies and financial operations that allow cybercriminals to quickly transfer stolen funds. In addition to the growing ecosystem of traditional financial crime outfits, cryptocurrency services that “mix” stolen funds and erase a tracking trail, are increasingly popular as cryptocurrency becomes both a target for cybercrime and a resource for its execution.

Taken together, it’s clear that today’s companies face increasingly sophisticated threat actors with access to a supply chain of products and services that ensure they maintain a competitive edge. However, their success isn’t guaranteed. Companies can protect their IT networks and sensitive data by continually adapting their defensive posture to address an ever-evolving threat landscape.

SCUD, BLOKWORX anti-phishing, malware, and account takeover defense can protect any organization using cloud services, including Office 365, Azure, Onedrive, Sharepoint, and Google Suite to Dropbox and more. Learn more at www.blokworx.com.

Photo by Michael Geiger on Unsplash