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IntSights and CipherTrace Reveal Systemic Cybercrime Ecosystem in Latin America as Attackers Target Global Organizations

February 2020 by IntSights and CipherTrace

IntSights, the threat intelligence company focused on enabling enterprises to Defend Forward™, and CipherTrace, the specialize in cryptocurrency intelligence for enabling the blockchain economy, partnered to release the industry’s first deep dive into the cybercrime and crypto-economy of Latin American in the report, The Dark Side of Latin America: Cryptocurrency, Cartels, Carding, and the Rise of Cybercrime.

Latin America boasts some of the most sophisticated threat actors and organized crime groups in the world, but enterprise security teams without a presence in the region often overlook it. Economic struggles, political corruption, internet censorship, and the prevalence of organized crime in Latin America all contribute to the growth of cybercrime. Companies across the region and beyond are struggling to keep up with threat actors that are financially motivated, coordinated, and persistent in their efforts to fraud, scam, and steal from consumers and businesses alike.

“Cybercrime in LATAM happens out in the open, through open-source channels. This highlights the lack of government response and cultural acceptance of cybercrime as an alternative way to make money,” said Charity Wright, Cyber Threat Intelligence Advisor, IntSights. “These cybercriminals are not forming advanced persistent threat (APT) groups, but rather are partnering with local cartels and drug groups to expand businesses and opportunities. This cybercrime ecosystem is now extending beyond the continent to countries and organizations that underestimate the sophistication and impact of attacks emanating from LATAM.”

Threat finance is evolving in Latin America as organized crime groups turn to cryptocurrency to launder large sums of money and dive into the dark web to find hackers for hire. Latin American countries top the list of the world’s most active money laundering nations. The constant flow of money in the organized crime community feeds into dark web markets and into the cybercrime ecosystem. Organized crime groups and drug cartels in Latin America are taking advantage of technological advances in digital banking and money transfers. “LATAM cybercriminals are operating almost exclusively through unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges, capitalizing on the anonymity cryptocurrency offers. While these exchanges are popular, some bad actors still use trusted networks or illegal peer-to-peer (P2P) exchanges to launder their cryptocurrency. Although this method is not novel, it is evolving with the introduction of cryptocurrencies in the criminal underground and is enabled by widespread political corruption in many countries,” said Pamela Clegg, Director of Financial Investigations and Education, CipherTrace.

IntSights is proud to partner on this report with regional cybersecurity experts CipherTrace and Scitum. Our shared expertise in serving Latin American enterprises with incident response, information security, and intelligence makes this report the first of its kind to address multiple aspects of criminal behavior, its effects on enterprises worldwide, and practical methods for protecting organizations against these threats.




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