Expert: Line between cyber crooks and cyber spies getting more blurry

Cybercriminals acting on behalf of national governments and nation-backed espionage agents carrying out cybercrimes for cash on the side is the future of security threats facing corporations and governments, says the former top U.S. attorney in charge of the Department of Justice’s national security division.

Morrison & Foerster

John Carlin

“I think this blending of criminal and national security, whether it’s terrorists or state actors moonlighting as crooks or state actors using criminal groups as a way to distance themselves from the action, I think that is a trend that we saw increasing that’s just going to continue to increase over the next three to five years,” says John Carlin, now an attorney with Morrison & Foerster.

He says that as a result, cooperation between businesses and law enforcement is vital to catching these foreign adversaries. What seems a simple criminal act may actually be traceable to an act of espionage or terrorism.

For example, he cites the case of Ardit Ferizi, who stole personal information from a U.S. internet hosting company and sought $500 in bitcoin or he’d release it to the public. It seemed a simple extortion, but when it was reported to the government, it turned out to be more complicated.

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