Home > Blogs & News > Cybercriminals copy the drug mafia’s modus operandi in 2023

Cybercriminals copy the drug mafia's modus operandi in 2023

2023 promises to be a challenging year. Cybercriminals will copy the drug mafia’s methods and will abuse the current economically difficult times to mislead people. Discover which trends we predict for 2023.

Next year, cybercriminals will target even more governments, police departments and hospitals to destabilize social life. Professional hackers will copy the methods used by the Antwerp harbor’s drug mafia to gain access to (big) companies. Two remarkable evolutions we noticed and expect to increase in 2023. Cybercriminals will abuse the current economically difficult times to approach employees and convince them to click on an infected email in exchange for compensation.


Cybercrime has become big business. If you convert all the money stolen online in 2022 into Gross National Product (GNP), cybercrime is the third biggest economy, right after the USA and China. A ransomware attack occurs every 40 seconds worldwide. Hackers encrypt data files in exchange for ransom. A lot of Belgian companies had to buy off the blackmailers as well to put a stop to a cyberattack. We are talking about 100 per day in 2021. That’s an increase of up to 37% compared to 2019.


Copying the drug mafia

2023 promises to be a challenging year. Fortunately, most companies are increasingly aware of the importance of cybersecurity. But as we work more digitally in every sector or situation, cybercriminals and hackers will find even more ways to attack organizations and individuals. They become more inventive and will search for new methods to bypass multi factor authentication, a standard in cybersecurity. One way to do that, for example, is by abusing the inflation and by capitalizing on increasingly expensive life.


We’ve all read or heard the stories about drug clans bribing dock workers to turn a blind eye in exchange for a generous compensation. Such methods could find their way into the digital world we live in nowadays. Cybercriminals will approach employees even more and convince them to click on an email or link containing a rogue file or program, in exchange for a financial reward. This way, they gain access to a company’s server to encrypt data and demand ransom. All caused by a so-called innocent click by a ‘unsuspecting’ employee.


Destabilizing social life

The fact that social institutions are no longer safe either, has become apparent by the recent cyberattacks on the police department of Zwijndrecht and the city of Antwerpen. Hackers will target even more government institutions in 2023. On the one hand, it’s the perfect way to destabilize social life, which can be interesting from a (geo)political point of view, but it could also be for financial gain. Or a combination of both.



New technologies like deepfake, where you can make videos and images look lifelike, can be used to trap people in all layers of society and organizations. Those technologies evolve at lightning speed and more and more people, often with bad intentions, easily gain access.