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Researchers and Scientists: some of cybercriminals' favorite targets

If there's one thing Reinor is grateful for, it's the hospitality and support he's received from the other members of the Hacker Rangers team of heroes. Anyone who has seen him at happy hours with his friends, drinking crafted beer and listening to pop music, would hardly have imagined he is one of the most brilliant scientists in the world — his advanced age, highlighted by his gray beard, has never stopped him from enjoying life and having fun after work. It's like he always says: “Life is short, let's take it lightly”.

In his laboratory, however, the story is different. He is overwhelmed with groundbreaking scientific experiments, uncovering secrets and solving mysteries that mere mortals could not even imagine. All of his precious findings are stored in a small, high-tech laptop computer. Everything seemed to be going well… Then, one day, Reinor realized that his computing device had been compromised by cybercriminals interested in stealing his work.

Not satisfied with the virtual attack, the gang also tried to break into his home. Realizing that his physical integrity was also being threatened, the researcher used one of his inventions and ended up teleporting himself to a military base, where Thunder, a former combatant who had lost his arm in an unsuccessful operation, took care of him. As a thank-you, Reinor used his scientific knowledge and, with the financial support of the government, gave his new friend a futuristic high-tech prosthesis, which had the power to identify fake news and phishing scams.

Still stunned by the recent events in his laboratory, the scientist was invited, along with Thunder, to join the Hackers Ranger team to fight cybercriminals who had stolen years of research work. Reinor vowed to do his best and use his vast knowledge to prevent others from falling victim to virtual criminals — and started living with the new family that took him in.

Knowledge is power

Researchers and scientists are, in fact, cybercriminals' favorite targets. After all, they tend to store valuable confidential information on their computers and mobile devices — as a result, they are often attacked, primarily by Advanced Persistent Threats (or APTs), which is the name given to elite groups that are financed by government agencies of rival nations.

Throughout 2020, for example, there was an exponential increase in spying attempts against groups of scientists and companies in the health care sector involved in COVID-19 immunization research. Many countries have tried to succeed in the race for an effective vaccine against the disease by using malicious actors to hack into computer networks and steal confidential documents. Sabotage attempts were also common.

But whoever thinks that only hospitals suffer from such a problem is wrong. Security researchers also fall victim to organized cybercrime. After all, these experts often try to discover vulnerabilities and security breaches in systems and applications; by breaking into their machines, scammers may end up stealing these bugs and employ them in malicious campaigns before researchers even have time to finish their reports and notify the responsible company.

For the good of society

Reinor's story proves that researchers and scientists need to be concerned with cybersecurity. Their work is too precious to fall into the wrong hands. Whether simple criminals or actors financed by foreign governments, it is essential to be aware of phishing campaigns and ensure that research is stored in a truly safe place. When we talk about scientific research, we are talking about an important activity for society as a whole so, do like Reinor, and learn to defend yourself from the threats you face daily!

Get to know more about Reinor!

Age: Unidentified
Likes: Science experiments, drinking with friends, pop music
Dislikes: Retrograde thoughts and over-serious people
Hobby: Making craft beer
Personality: Playful, rambunctious and authentic
Specialty: Creating ultra-innovative cybersecurity systems

 — “Life is short, let’s take it lightly…” (Reinor, Hacker Rangers)