ZDNet LogoPhishing schemes, malware campaigns and other operations involve an array of workers beyond the criminal masterminds. Could giving them better opportunities for legitimate work help cut crime?

Security researchers have put the spotlight on a little-known but growing group of people who make up a significant part of the cyber-criminal ecosystem, even though some of them may not even be aware that they’re actually taking part in illegal activities.

A collaborative research project by Czech Technical University in Prague, plus cybersecurity companies GoSecure and SecureWorks, analyzed the activities of people on the fringes of cybercrime, those behind projects like building the websites that end up being used for phishing attacks, affiliate schemes to drive traffic towards compromised or fake websites or writing the code that ends up in malware.

The people behind these projects are doing it because it’s an easy way to make money. But by doing this work, they’re laying the foundations for cyber criminals to carry out malicious campaigns

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