Creating an ‘Invisible Internet’ to stop police spying on cyber-crime deals being done on the dark net, research suggests. Instead of trading on marketplaces, criminals have turned to “gated” chat forums, invitation-only communities and encrypted apps.
The change could make it hard for law enforcement agencies to spot and trace attacks, they warn. They also found a large increase in attacks aimed at big companies.efforts by police to infiltrate dark net marketplaces as well as raids that saw many of them closed down, had pushed criminal hackers to adopt more secure ways of communicating.
The dark net is the part of the internet not accessible to search engines such as Google, and for which people need a special browser to visit. The most well-known dark net is accessed via the Tor browser.
When researchers posed as customers and quizzed hackers about the cost of a wide variety of cyber-attacks, They probed market rates for tailored malware attacks, phishing campaigns, industrial espionage and insider information.
Sample costs included:
- Remote logins for corporate networks $2-$30
- Targeted attack on company $4,500
- Targeted attack on individual $2,000
- Phishing kits $40
- Fake Amazon receipts and invoices $52
- Espionage and insider trading $1,000 – $15,000
The cyber-crime economy was diverse and sophisticated with many hacking gangs specialising in just one aspect of an attack, such as crafting malware, writing convincing phishing emails or setting up sites to grab data from victims. It was also clear that the hackers could get access to almost any network they desired. “It’s not hard to get into corporate networks,” the most successful method of winning access was via a well-crafted phishing campaign. Also, adverts and listings for attacks on enterprises had grown by 20% since 2016, suggesting corporates were becoming a lucrative target. A successful phishing attack gave hackers “instant deep access” that they could then build on to either get at saleable data or to thoroughly compromise a target.