Four men from Lyon, France were arrested for trying to purchase a phone using counterfeit bank notes.
The event took place in Lyon on Monday, when the four suspects, aged between 17 and 22, tried to buy a phone with seven counterfeit 50 euro notes. After their detention, the suspects admitted that they ordered the counterfeit money from the dark web.
During the search of their apartments, law enforcement authorities found an additional seven fake 50 euro notes. Two of the defendants were released from custody since their lesser involvement in the crime. The other two suspects will be presented at the prosecutor’s office later this week. They are charged with forgery, the use of forged items, and fraud.
Earlier in January, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian issued a nationwide warning on cyberattacks. Le Drian pointed out that the major civil infrastructure providers, including electricity, transport, water, and telecommunication, may face breaches in the future.
“We should not be naive [thinking France could not face a cyber attack]… The number of cyber attacks against my ministry doubles every year. In 2016, about 24,000 external attacks had been blocked by our security services,” Le Drian said in an interview with French weekly Journal du Dimanche.
The Defense Minister described the breaches as sophisticated hacker attacks. According to him, the number of cyberattacks could increase in the future, and infrastructure providers should be ready to deal with such threats.
Le Drian added that the cyber security market is booming. The number of experts in the industry is growing at an exponential rate, and companies should take advantage of this.
The French Defense Minister expects that similarly to the rate of the hacker attacks against the ministry, the number of cybersecurity specialists will double too. Considering the magnitude and intensity of the cyberattacks the ministry and government agencies faced last year, the minister emphasized the importance of facilitating the growth of the cybersecurity sector, with improving the security measures at infrastructure providers.
Civil infrastructure providers store sensitive personal and financial information of millions of consumers in France. This is the reason why hackers are focusing on this sector. If they managed to acquire such data, they could easily sell the information to third parties that could use it for criminal activities.
According to a Duo report, one in three US citizens were affected by hacker attacks at state-supported service providers, such as healthcare. To avoid such breaches, the French Defense Minister urged the improvement of the whole IT infrastructure.
As ransomware becomes more popular, and even less-tech savvy hackers could get access to such services and software, these kinds of attacks resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousand dollars to the affected companies and institutions. If hackers would be able to launch a successful ransomware attack on the infrastructure providers that hold the data of millions of persons, the ransomware lockdown could be fatal and could cost the government millions of dollars to retrieve the information from the cybercriminals.