Former Cybercriminal Brett Johnson Discusses Cracking Down on Misuse of the Currencies
Government regulation is key to minimizing the misuse of cryptocurrencies for cybercrime, says Brett Johnson, a longtime cybercriminal who now consults on ways to prevent crime.
But regulating cryptocurrencies is no easy task, he acknowledges in an interview with Information Security Media Group.
“The problem is a lot of these cryptocoins are anonymous. And when I say anonymous, I mean completely anonymous,” Johnson says. “There’s no way to really determine who is sending the money and who is getting the money that is sent. From a regulation problem, we can regulate ICOs [Initial Coin Offerings]. … But how do we track money that is being transferred anonymously?”
Johnson will be a keynote speaker at ISMG’s Fraud and Breach Prevention Summit in Chicago June 26-27.
Today’s cybercriminals, whether they conduct cryptocurrency scams or wage cyberattacks, are unlikely to be lone hackers dwelling in basements, Johnson says.
“Most successful cybercriminals are social engineers,” he says. “They know human nature. They understand human psychology, and they know exactly what they need to do in order to manipulate someone to give them access to information, cash – anything like that. The secret of it all is cybercrime is not rocket science. It’s not complicated.”
In this interview (see audio link below photo), Johnson also discusses:
- Current cryptocurrency scams;
- Whether cryptojacking is a victimless crime;
- If there are any effective ways to control cryptocurrency-based crime.
Johnson, referred to by the United States Secret Service as “The Original Internet Godfather,” had been a central figure in the cybercrime world for almost 20 years. He founded and was the leader of Counterfeitlibrary.com and Shadowcrew.com. He helped design, implement and refine modern identity theft, ATO fraud, card-not-present fraud, IRS tax fraud and other social engineering attacks, breaches and hacking operations. Since his release from prison, he has striven to help others avoid becoming the victims of the types of crimes he used to commit. He runs Anglerphish, a cybersecurity consultancy.