Do you know that a European credit card has more value on the cybercrime black market than one from North America? Do you realize that Twitter is one of the favorite tools of communication hackers that drive the small parallel cybercrime world?
That is what we learn in the last report about Markets for Cybercrime Tools and Stolen Data funded by Juniper Networks and launched by RAND, a nonprofit entity, specialized in analyzingis and research.
This study provides very dense developments and operation of medium cybercrime. It is now a real structured market with its different levels, go-betweens, networks. The study assesses the cyber black market as being composed of 70% isolated individuals or small groups, 20 % individuals who are part of criminal organizations , 5% of cyberterrorists , 4% “sponsored by a State players “and only 1% of hacktivists, but no members of Anonymous.
The Rand report estimated 10-20 % hard to find expert players and about 25 % true specialists.” This limited proportion is linked to the emergence in the last years of easier tools, such as Botnets now available for different uses such as mining tools to denial of service types of attack … for much lower prices, ranging from US$50 to several thousand dollars, “depending on the size of the botnet required to carry out the attack.”
Besides, cybercriminals do not hesitate to communicate, even opening some online stores where the customer can adjust its market and generally with currencies, such as Bitcoin. The client and the seller may even be asked to share an account with a webmail for sharing information, without sending e -mail, but recording their communications in a single draft which will be then destroyed.
The most competent hackers are also increasingly cautious with intermediaries who stood between them and the applicants and get specialized in specific fields: banking information, personal health data, etc…
Do you have an idea of the value such stolen data can have: data on a freshly stolen card can be worth between $ 20 and $ 45 per unit. Surprisingly enough, a Twitter account access can be as juicy as some bank account data, due to it is potentially giving access to even more data.
The highest rates are concentrated on the so-called zero-day vulnerabilities, i.e. software flaws that are not corrected. It can reach several thousand dollars for a flaw in a low-scale program and nearly a million dollars if the security issue is serious and affects a large operating system. The average is between 200 and 300 thousand dollars, according to this study.
Some dark sides about this market: critical flaws evaluation also encourages players, such as Google, to increase the rewards for hackers who report previously unknown vulnerabilities.
This black market cybercrime will continue to evolve as a classic economic market. Rand sets some trends related to changing needs, the reliability of the current actors, a wider public access, some hackers getting more specialized and the market’s ability to adapt to an ever changing world (i.e. the Arab Spring in Egypt had an effect of reducing the supply of stolen credit cards … )
The future of this market looks flourishing, according to Rand, facilitated by the proliferation of connected devices – with people being hyperconnected and the power of social media and mobile phones, which will be increasingly targeted.
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