As Venezuela’s Economy Struggles, Some of Its Citizens Turn to a Lucrative Gig: Cybercrime

Hacking efforts are particularly lucrative for Venezuelans as they are sold for cryptocurrency, a welcome alternative to the country’s own currency, which has endured rapid inflation

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RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP via Getty Images

Cybercrime is flourishing in Venezuela as the country’s deepening economic and political crisis drives thousands into the underground criminal world, according to a report released Thursday by IntSights, a global threat intelligence company.

IntSights analysts discovered large-scale and sophisticated efforts to steal personal information from people in Latin America who work for a variety of companies, such as banks and retailers, and then either sell that information online or use it to collect even more data, NBC News reports. The hackers are based in Venezuela and neighboring countries, like Colombia, where many Venezuelan refugees have settled.

These information gathering operations are particularly lucrative for Venezuelans as they are sold for cryptocurrency such as bitcoin, a welcome alternative to the country’s own currency, which has endured rapid inflation.

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And they’re not subtle about it. Specific information about the operations, like who the hackers are, where they are located and even hackers’ phone numbers are surprisingly easy to find, according to Charity Wright, an analyst at IntSights.

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