Underground hacker marketplaces are thriving, says new report

Online marketplaces make it easy to find whatever you’re looking for — retail items, babysitter services, a couch to crash on — even a hacker.

Business is booming for hackers that advertise their services on underground online marketplaces, according to a new study by Dell’s SecureWorks. The cyber security company’s annual hacker report says there is no shortage of demand for ill-gotten credit card numbers, account passwords and personal identity information. ATM skimming has grown, as has the demand for the machines necessary to perform the scams, according to the study, which looked at trends in the last half of 2015 and beginning of 2016. Malware has gotten cheaper, allowing more criminals to steal bank account credentials and other data. And hackers are paying more attention to how they market themselves, in an effort to stand out from the competition.

Hackers are offering perks to their clients, such as extended hours (even promising to be available for customer support 24×7), service guaranties, and discounts for frequent customers.

“Like any other market in a capitalist system, the business of cybercrime is guided by the supply and demand for various goods and services,” the report’s authors wrote. “Unfortunately for the law abiding public, both sides of that equation remain strong, with everything from credit cards to hacker-for-hire services being sold online.”

The Wall Street Journal reported the study Tuesday.

On black market platforms such as the Russian Underground, hacking a U.S. email or social media account will cost you $129, according to the study. A “new identity package,” which includes scans of a Social Security card, driver’s license and matching utility bill, goes for $90. Credentials for large bank accounts can be yours for the price of 6 percent of the account balance. The going rate for U.S. airline points is $450 for 1.5 million points. If you want to save a buck by learning to do it yourself, a hacking tutorial sells for between $20 and $40.

Photo: Yoggie’s Gatekeeper Pico, a USB key-sized internet security device, is shown at the CES Unveiled press preview event held at the Venetian hotel and casino in Las Vegas in 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)


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