Aspiring Cybercriminals Only Need a Couple of Hundred Dollars to Turn Pro

In the market for a firearm but don’t have a licence? Interested in stolen credit card information or wreaking havoc online with malware? You need not look far, as online black markets are flourishing at the behest of aspiring cybercriminals.

European authorities said online black markets are becoming more refined, offering services similar to Amazon – complete with product ratings and customer service.

Buried in the deep web, these types of online black markets provide a wide array of contraband – from high-grade firearms to illegal drugs, stolen credit card information, and fraud tutorials.

One source said that ransomware is available for approximately AU$ 147.

These online black market stores offer door-to-door deliveries, compared to shadier deals done in forums in the past.

Security experts posited that it should not take more than 10 minutes to download a specialist browser, setup a Bitcoin account, and begin your transactions.

Buried in the deep web, these types of online black markets provide a wide array of contraband – from high-grade firearms to illegal drugs, stolen credit card information, and fraud tutorials.

Hopeful hackers do not need huge amounts of cash to start their careers as stolen credit card information can be bought for as little as AU$ 13. Renting a botnet to infect a network of computers can be had for less than AU$ 150.

Trend Micro’s research paper entitled The French Underground: Under a Shroud of Extreme Caution, the security company listed some of the services/products seen on the black market along with their prices (in AU$):

  • Semi-automatic pistol: 957 and up
  • Cashpoint skimmer: 1178
  • Suicide kits: 736
  • Tutorial: how to open bank accounts for fraud: 663
  • Mailbox master keys (full set): 324
  • Fake national ID card: 88
  • Stolen credit card credentials: 13 and up
  • Access to compromised Amazon account: 15
  • Cannabis (per gram): 9 and up

According to Europol, they recently purged a large network that launched massive malware attacks, with German online banking suffering six million Euros in damages.

“It was a criminal, multinational organisation that had created this network that other criminals rented to commit all sorts of crimes,” said Philipp Amann, head of strategy at Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre.

Amann added that the services offered were the total package – including ransomware development, delivery, and money transfers. He called it a “one-stop shop” as the cybercrime market has become more user-friendly and all-inclusive in terms of the services offered.

Once considered as more on the entrepreneurial side of business, cybercrime has morphed into a more accessible and flexible arena – adapting to the wants and needs of its market.

On top of this, cybercriminals are also becoming smarter as they try to stay one step ahead of being caught or detected.

According to Cedric Pernet, one of the authors of the French Underground paper, “we are facing cyber criminals who getting more and more aware of how they can be tracked, and how law enforcement can catch them.”

And at the same time, the black market turned into a stealthier and easier medium once one is incorporated into it. Just like shopping on Amazon, it just takes a few steps to buy contraband or illegal services.

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