Ever wonder what the use of stealing millions of email addresses is? All those often downplayed, ‘low sensitivity’ data breaches have massive potential to create enough uncertainty for people to eventually call a 1-800 number, even it it means speaking to a passive-aggressive tech support professional.

Expect scenarios like this to exploit the trust humans have for well known brands around the world. One billion emails are currently available for sale or rent (increasingly probably including yours) in neat, manageable batches. At $400 per instance, that can quickly add up to a tidy profit. One that will pay for hordes of hungry ‘tech support professionals’, and the streamlined business processes to make it all come together.

It is easy to buy into the mentality that someone out there is looking to make a quick buck off unsuspecting seniors; it’s harder to resist the media’s derision and begin to think of organized cybercrime as a massive force. As you watch the above clip, keep in mind that someone has been thinking big and acting on those ambitions. That someone, or group of people:

– bought lists containing millions of fresh email addresses

– paid for tens of thousands of hijacked web servers

– cloned the look of thousands of legitimate, branded pages

– staffed call centres with hundreds of trained, multi-lingual operators

– distributed spam operation across dozens of countries

These business operations are now funneling every morsel of data collected from each interaction into carefully orchestrated activities that include malware infections, text message scams, extortion, hijacking, mail fraud, etc. The combinatorial growth potential of these threats is practically infinite.

So next time you feel the urge to dismiss them as two-bit fraudsters, think instead of savvy investors who are at this very moment turning that opportunity to make a quick buck into a massively scalable, global crime worth trillions.

Claudiu Popa – CEO, Informatica Group

Claudiu Popa is a public speaker, cybersecurity expert, and passionate defender of privacy rights who engages audiences through storytelling and weaponizes academic courses, radio, television, podcasts, social media, and the written word to fight for the vulnerable in society and catalyze positive social change in Canada.

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