From coders and hackers to cashers and money mules, the FBI outlines the 10 specialized positions found in cybercrime organizations.
Just as doctors specialize in a particular field of medicine, cybercriminals often focus on a single area of technical crime, according to Steven R. Chabinsky, FBI Deputy Assistant Director, Cyber Division. During his keynote address at the GovSec/FOSE Conference in Washington, D.C. last March, Chabinsky outlined 10 specializations the FBI typically sees within the world of cyber crime.
- Coders or programmers: "who write the malware, exploits, and other tools necessary to commit the crime;"
- Distributors or vendors: "who trade and sell stolen data, and act as vouchers of the goods provided by the other specialties;"
- Techies: "who maintain the criminal infrastructure, including servers, bulletproof ISPs, and encryption; and who often have knowledge of common database languages and SQL servers of course;"
- Hackers: "who search for and exploit application, system, and network vulnerabilities to gain administrator or payroll access;"
- Fraudsters: "who create and deploy social engineering schemes, including phishing, spamming, and domain squatting;"
- Hosters: "who provide "safe" hosting of illicit content servers and sites, often through elaborate botnet and proxy networks;"
- Cashers: "who control drop accounts and provide those names and accounts to other criminals for a fee, and who also typically control full rings of our eighth category, money mules;"
- Money mules: who complete "money transfers or wire transfers between bank accounts;"
- Tellers: "who help with transferring and laundering illicit proceeds through digital currency services and between different world currencies;"
- Leaders: "They're the "people-people." They choose the targets; choose the people they want to work each role; decide who does what, when, and where; and take care of personnel and payment issues." Many according to Chabinsky don't have any technical skills.
For a more in-depth explanation of each specialization, you can read the complete text of Chabinsky's keynote on the FBI Web site.