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In Hollywood films, at least, hackers and cybercriminals are geniuses – able to crack into military networks in seconds, and crack passwords like peanut shells.
But the reality can be a little different. Sure, the past few years have seen the rise of political and professional hacking– but most hackers are a little shorter on the grey matter.
Over the years on We Live Security, we’ve witnessed and reported on complex malware and carefully planned attacks on companies which have earned millions.
We have also reported on cybercriminals who are not exactly Bond villain material – in fact, criminals with a level of weapons-grade stupidity that Bond villains wouldnt even employ as henchmen. Here are our favourite idiots of cybercrime.
This was a few years ago, and we’re willing to accept that this level of stupidity might not happen how – but My God, what stupidity. A jewel thief stopped off during a robbery for a less-than-essential break – to check Facebook (his own, real account) on the victim’s laptop. Walking out with two diamond rings worth $3,500, he would certainly have earned a Darwin Award if they were awarded to the living – he left the laptop switched on, and actually logged in to his account. Needless to say, it didn’t require Columbo to solve this one.
ESET Senior Research Fellow David Harley watches the latest phishing scams – and while some phishers have become masters of fooling their victims, others are… less convincing. One email (sent recently) said simply, “I need a partner for biz.” Another had the faintly tempting subject line, “I am waiting for your response.” Sadly, the body text also said, “I am waiting for your response.” Harley sums up the feelings of most sane humans when he says, “Sadly, you won’t be getting one: at least, not from me.”
Many of us are bad at filling in forms. Few, however, can match Ned Jones of Georgia – who lost a laptop, made a few little mistakes on the report, and was immediately charged with identity theft. Jones, you see, listed among the items of value on the machine, 30,000 identities he had stolen. “I don’t see why I’m in trouble here,” he said. “Online identity theft is like stealing music; everyone does it. Isn’t the real issue here the fact that my laptop is missing.” For the record, stealing music is also a crime. SC Magazine dubbed him the “dumbest cybercriminal of all time” and it’s hard to disagree.
Facebook scam site Facecrooks deals with clever scams, and not-so-clever scams – but in terms of low IQ, few can match the Michigan bank robber who posted a photo on his Facebook page, with a submachine gun of exactly the same model used in the hold-up. The alleged robber, Jules Bahler, robbed three banks over eight days, and then went on a Facebook spree. “Bought my first house And chopper today..lifes great.” he said. The FBI say he was seen with “what appeared to be a sub machine gun and wearing clothes matching those used in the aforementioned bank robberies.” If that isn’t a reminder to change your privacy settings, what is?
Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security