Cyber kingpins “earn” up to $600,000 a month

From cryptocurrencies to the metaverse, cybercriminals exploit every opportunity to drain victims’ wallets. Rookie fraudsters start with $20,000 while master criminals “earn” up to $600,000 a month.

Fraud “employment” outpaces cybersecurity jobs, claims fraud deterrence firm Arkose Labs. Criminals are increasingly targeting fintech, gaming, technology, and e-commerce companies, assuming these industries have the biggest coffins to steal from.

The global cybersecurity industry employs almost 4,2 million people and has another 2.7 million vacant positions.

Arkose Labs New Intelligence Report estimates that there are at least 15 million fraudsters at large, jumping on any possible opportunity to lure victims into a trap.

Based on behavioral data, Arkose Labs defined two primary categories of fraudsters. Rookies, buying bots as a service to execute attacks at scale and make money fast, make up to $20,000 a month. Master fraudsters devise complex, multi-pronged attack strategies, using multiple tools scripted together alongside fraud farm workers, and are willing to invest in resources and development to bypass defenses continually. They “earn” up to $600,000 a month.

Network defenders are nowhere near getting that high of a salary. According to the 2021 (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Survey of 4,753 cybersecurity professionals, the average salary before taxes in 2021 was over $90,000.In North America, the average salary is $119,000 before taxes, Latin America – $32,000, Europe – $78,000, and APAC – $61,000.

According to Arkose Labs Chief Criminal Officer Brett Johnson, the number of active fraudsters has increased tenfold since 2019, primarily because of the “easy money” that could be made from unemployment stimulus programs during the pandemic. The vast network of cybercriminals on social media and the abundance of fraud tutorials makes it easy for rookies to jump-start their “careers.”

“Rookie Fraudsters move into the Master Fraudster category due to the vast information sharing of attack techniques on the dark web. Marketplace and messaging platforms have become popularized in the fraud community, where cybercriminals can promote their fraud business, recommend attack tools and techniques, and offer free step-by-step guides for the rookie fraudster. With this widespread information sharing, human fraudsters are capable of using bot tools to attack at scale, and Rookie fraudsters uplevel their attack skills much faster,” Johnson said.