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Study: Dark web still exists and more dangerous cybercrime services can cost as little as $500

According to foreign media reports, the dark web is still alive and becoming more dangerous than before. New research highlights how the value of stolen data and general cybercrime behavior has evolved over the past six years. Cloud security firm Bitglass has recreated a 2015 data-tracking experiment by inventing a fictitious identity that sells login and password data.

The researchers then published the information on several darknet markets and lured users by providing access to fake documents that were known to be accessible to organizations in retail, government, gaming, and media.

Watermarking technology inserted into files allows Bitglass to track data from users who visit it to gather current trends on the dark web. The results of the study are very interesting. Overall, stolen data travels 11 times faster on the dark web today than it was six years ago.

In 2021, there will be more than 13,200 views of vulnerability data, a significant increase from 1,100 in 2015. This surge represents an increase of 1,100 percent, which clearly shows how underground platforms are becoming a more popular destination for cybercriminals.

The time it took to reach 1100 link views in 2015 was 12 days. And in 2021, Target was significantly faster at accessing fake data, as they took less than 24 hours.

Where the stolen data was downloaded shows that the U.S. is the second-largest source of cybercriminals. The other two in the top three are Kenya and Romania.

The study also found that targets showed a strong interest in retail and U.S. government network data. These two categories received the highest click-through rates at 37% and 32%, respectively. This is not surprising, as the potential ransom can bring huge profits to these areas.

Retail networks are naturally a top priority for attackers, as they can distribute ransomware and extract payments from large enterprises. Likewise, U.S. government data is equally valuable because hackers – state-sponsored or individuals – can sell this information to other countries.

Also, activity on the dark web has become busier. According to the study, the total number of anonymous viewers on the dark web will reach 93% in 2021, a marked increase from 67% in 2015.

Bitglass emphasized that cybercriminals have largely evaded laws prosecuting cybercrimes as they become more effective at covering their tracks.

Cybersecurity efforts from businesses and organizations have yet to adequately prevent attacks. Additionally, as law enforcement increasingly focuses on tracking malicious actors, the company expects them to continue to utilize anonymous VPNs and proxies to evade authorities.

“When comparing the results of this latest experiment with the results of the 2015 experiment, it is clear that data on the dark web travels farther and faster,” said Mike Schuricht, director of the Bitglass Threat Research Group. The growing volume and more channels for cybercriminals to monetize the data that flows out of it will lead to increased interest and activity in stolen data on the dark web.”

According to data released by Microsoft, dark web users can get most cybercrime services for less than $500. Atlas VPN found that underground markets offered a single ransomware kit for as little as $66, while hackers charged only about $311 for a month-long sustained DDoS attack on a target.

Data breaches are commonplace these days, so it’s no surprise that stolen usernames and passwords are being sold for 97 cents per 1,000 accounts. Additionally, hackers offer custom jobs like credit card fraud or identity theft for as little as $250.