These pimply hackers who make computer security specialists tremble

Estimated read time 3 min read

These pimply hackers who make computer security specialists tremble

Is it the return of the young peril? In a conference organized by the Washington Post, Lisa Monaco, the deputy Attorney General of the United States, reported her concern about groups of malicious young hackers. Advanced Persistent Teenagers, quips the specialized newsletter Seriously Risky Business, a nod to the acronym APT (Advanced Persistent Threat).

Adults and teenagers

A fear to put in connection with the attack on the hotel and gaming firm Caesars Entertainment. The company paid a ransom of tens of millions of dollars to prevent the disclosure of the stolen data. However, according to Bloomberg, the group of hackers at work would be a mixture of young adults and teenagers. Giving this gang an air of resemblance to Lapsus$. This group that had hit the headlines was led by two English teenagers, had established British justice.

This phenomenon of juvenile hackers is “not so new”, tempers Lisa Monaco. But, she adds in essence, there is like an online radicalization of these pimply hackers. The barriers to entry being quite low – it is finally enough to have an internet connection -, a teenager can easily be embarked on interloping adventures. And whether he has computer skills or not, in the end he can do great damage.

Many examples

There are also many examples of young cybercriminals. Sébastien Raoult, this young Frenchman extradited from Morocco to the United States, has just pleaded guilty to having attacked the data of about sixty companies. The 22-year-old is part, had explained the American justice, of the ShinyHunters group, a circle that would also include two other young French already known to the police services.

Another example: in the United States, six young adults aged 22 to 28 had been convicted in November 2021 in a resounding sim-swapping case. This social engineering technique involves taking control of a mobile phone number. Gathered in a group called “The Community”, the defendants had managed to get their hands on the equivalent of several million dollars by attacking the cryptocurrency wallets of their victims.

“He is improving himself”

The judicial services sometimes seem clueless in the face of these types of profiles. Example with this young Parisian, recently sentenced to three years in prison, two of which suspended by the Parisian justice. After starting by disrupting online gaming games, he expanded his malicious perimeter to swatting – calls intended to provoke important police interventions – and hacks.

“What we see with the repetition of the facts is that he is improving, explained the prosecutor’s magistrate at the hearing. This also suggests that his awareness seems quite slight, with a risk of recurrence that seems high to me.”Result: for aspiring hackers, the realization often comes much too late.

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