a16z Podcast

a16z Podcast: The Business of Cybercrime

Joel de la Garza, Jonathan Lusthaus, and Hanne Winarsky

Posted January 17, 2019

The idea of the cybercriminal as lone wolf or hobby hacker is no longer much of a reality. Instead, the business of cybercrime looks a lot more just like that — a large, global technology business, with many of the associated structures, challenges, and even casts of characters that legitimate businesses have.

In this conversation, a16z’s Joel de la Garza, a16z operating partner for information security (formerly CSO of Box and head Citigroup’s Cyber Intelligence Center), and Hanne Tidnam, discuss with Jonathan Lusthaus — Director of the Human Cybercriminal Project at the University of Oxford — the evolution of the industry of cybercrime from single perpetrator into a sprawling and sophisticated international industry as discussed in his new book, Industry of Anonymity: Inside the Business of Cybercrime.

A dive into the sociological, operational, and tactical realities of this murky underworld, Lusthaus and de la Garza discuss what the current industry has evolved into — who the players are, what they are motivated by, and specialize in — as well as how basic ideas like trust and anonymity function in a world where no one wants to get caught. How do criminal nicknames function as brand? Which countries tend to specialize in what kinds of crime, and why? And most of all, what changes when you begin to think of the business of cybercrime as an industry?