It’s not the subplot to a Jerry Bruckheimer movie: drug dealers in Mexico really are kidnapping computer whizzes and forcing them to hack into bank systems and program credit card fraud scams in order to acquire additional funds on top of what they haul in from selling drugs.From Russia Today:
Dmitry Bestuzhev, a Latin American specialist with the Russian global anti-virus firm Kaspersky Lab, says it is a type of crime which could spread. “In many cases cyber-crime is not punished at all, despite all the efforts,” he told RT. According to the specialist, the money this kind of criminal activity generates is comparable to that coming from the drugs themselves.“So, it’s another source of income for drug dealers,” he said. “Kidnapped [programmers] have to keep the money stolen from online banking, from credit cards and then pass it to drug dealers,” Bestuzhev explained. He adds that attacks on the world’s largest banks in the US, Europe or Russia take place on a daily basis. “Despite all the security efforts, it’s quite difficult to ensure that the user is protected [enough], because the security on the user’s side depends on the user,” Bestuzhev continued. “I strongly believe that if drug dealers see [profit] in abusing kidnapped cyber-criminals, they will keep following the same line.”
Given a growing concern over cyber crime and the increasingly ferocious portrayal of hackers showing their teeth in the press lately, it would arguably behoove the drug dealing kidnappers to treat their hacker hostages nicely, lest they should use their cyber powers in retaliation.