Brazil is now both a laboratory for cyber-crime and also it’s largest exporter worldwide. Digital crime originating from Brazil now includes identity theft, credit card fraud, intellectually property violations and political protest. Software and proprietary data copying, piracy, deletion and alteration as well as online vandalism are some of the illicit methods being increasingly adopted by Brazilian hackers and cyber crime syndicates.
The top ten most active hacking groups in November 2002 are all Brazilian, of which the five most prolific are: BYS (Breaking Your Security), Ir4dex, Endiabrad0s, Virtual Hell and rya (Rooting Your Admin). As a result, Portuguese has now become the lingua franca of the hacking underground.
Brazilian hack attacks are due to:
1. The proliferation of freely available automated attack tools that can be launched by experts and script-kiddies alike;
2. Relatively few laws to prevent digital crime giving rise to hacking communities; and
3. High incidence of organised crime syndicates exploiting cross-boundary opportunities
Very few Brazilian hackers are the highly skilled computer savants in the mould of the Eastern Europeans in the late 1990s, who had breached computer security in a customised way and also wrote their own programs for attack as needed. For the moment, Brazil does not appear to be a major source of viruses and worms. Only 4 of the 296 new viruses, worms, trojans and malware discovered in 2002 are known to have originated in Brazil.
“It has rarely been the case since 1995 that one country has dominated digital criminal activity to the extent that Brazil now does. Brazilian hacking in 2002 has cost billions of Dollars in G-8 countries alone,” said DK Matai, Chairman and CEO of mi2g. “This has now become a global issue. G-8 countries will have to apply pressure on the Brazilian authorities to take appropriate measures to stamp out this illicit export. If not, the Brazilian digital skills could just as easily be bought by other rogue elements with their own agendas.”
The top five victims of overt digital attacks in 2002 so far have been USA (24,611), Brazil (4,874), UK (4,735), Germany (4,474) and Italy (2,565). The top three hackers in November targeting systems based in USA were all Brazilian - Endiabrad0s (398), Ir4dex (378) and Virtual Hell (351).
The worldwide economic damage in 2002 from overt and covert digital attacks including viruses and worms is estimated to be between $37 and $45 Billion Dollars.