The Low-Tech Communications of High-Tech Financial Fraudsters

Much case has been made of the use of sophisticated anonymity tools by financial fraudsters that hack financial institutions and steal personal and financial information. Our past research has shown that these technologies were used to protect the fraudsters’ privacy and to facilitate their attacks against financial institutions. Our latest interactions and analysis of the cybercrime underground has shown however that many financial fraudsters are still using low-tech communications methods to connect with each other.

The aim of this presentation is to analyze how low-tech communication tools such as ICQ are still being used by Canadian financial fraudsters. We demonstrate that thousands of actors appear to use daily the low-tech communication tools even though a handful of fraudsters appear to control the sale of personal and financial information. We also demonstrate the type of intelligence that can be gathered on these communication tools and that fraudsters go as far as posting videos of themselves pushing the sale of their illicit services. This presentation will highlight the need to have a holistic approach when analyzing financial fraud in Canada and that different sources of open data complement each other to enhance our understanding of financial fraud.

About the speaker:

David Hétu is Chief Scientist at Flare Systems Inc. He has a PhD in Criminology with a specialization in the study of illicit markets on the Internet and the darknet. David has developed massive data collection tools on online illicit activities and threat actors as well as cryptocurrency flow analysis. His research has been published in major scientific journals and has helped to understand the social structure of delinquent communities on the Internet as well as the performance of offenders.