Cybersecurity researchers facing real-life threats from hacker groups

These threats manifest in various sinister and imaginative ways.

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A disturbing trend in fighting cybercrime has emerged: cybersecurity experts find themselves in the crosshairs of physical threats, the Financial Times reported. Initially employed by corporations to combat hacker groups, cybersecurity experts soon find themselves as targets of real-life threats.

These threats manifest in various sinister and imaginative ways. In one instance, a Ukrainian hacker dispatched a gram of heroin to the abode of Brian Krebs, a former journalist now immersed in cybersecurity analysis. The aggression persisted, with a florist delivering a sprawling floral arrangement fashioned in the shape of a cross to Krebs’s doorstep.

In another bizarre twist, hacking targets have been coerced into transferring funds to the bank accounts of cybersecurity professionals to implicate them in nefarious schemes. Notably, a North Korean hacking faction masqueraded as security researchers on LinkedIn, luring connections into unwittingly accepting malware concealed within an encryption key.

Recently, Robert M Lee, CEO of cybersecurity firm Dragos, received a chilling message, the Financial Times reports. A criminal hacking syndicate had infiltrated Dragos’s employee email system, issuing an ultimatum: pay a ransom or face the release of sensitive company data. The malevolent group that menaced Lee—whose identity he has opted to shield—resorted to a dangerous tactic called ‘swatting.’ This involves deceitfully alerting law enforcement to a fabricated armed threat, prompting a SWAT team deployment to the victim’s residence.

Some analysts also warn that the deep involvement of Western companies in Ukraine’s cybersecurity exacerbates the situation.