Even before the era of the dark web, cybercrime existed in different forms. What changed is the ways that criminals utilized newer technology to steal data and perpetrate various types of prohibited cyber-related activities.
With the dark web, the cybercrime situation has grown without reasonable doubt with governments, hackers, and ordinary individuals using it in one way or another.
In this article, we will analyze the various ways in which the dark web has contributed to the growth of cybercrime.
Tutorials Available Within the Darknet
For the very basic beginner with basic knowledge in using computers, they can easily access darknet markets and purchase cybercrime tutorials. The guides range from as little as $2 to $100 depending on the content.
Buyers can learn basic things like how to turn off a computer remotely within the same network, and even perform more complex operations like draining funds form a stolen credit card.
For the advanced criminals with high knowledge on a specific field, they can purchase methods for higher amounts depending on the operation they intend to carry out.
The methods explained in the tutorials are in most cases for limited timespan because the targets usually realize that their systems have specific vulnerabilities, and in the end, they update them. That is why whenever you are using an application, you need to carry out continuous security updates.
However, when criminals realize that the method is no longer working because of a security update, they tend to find new ones which they again sell on the underground markets. The same cycle goes on between the hackers and the targets.
So for those that buy these guides on these illicit markets, it is imperative to be careful because some of the methods are dead, and in the end, might lead to loss of money
Availability of Hacking Tools
On the dark web, there are countless types of hacking tools for hacking different targets.
The prices of these tools can be as little as $3 to as much as tens of thousands of dollars. The level of complexity determines the price.
For instance, a tool that can be used to hack into a Wi-Fi network will fetch a smaller price compared to the one used to clone credit cards or one that can intercept communication.
Aiding Theft from Money Transmitters and Banks
The sale of an individual's personal details and stolen credit card data has led to an increase in financial fraud and caused money transmitters, banks, retail stores, and others to lose billions of dollars across the globe annually.
The dark web is a contributor to these figures because those who find it riskier to buy tutorials and hacking tools to try out a new method opt to buy dirty money for about 30-50% depending on the source.
The higher the risks of getting into trouble or having the account flagged before cashout, the cheaper the funds. The money can be transferred to you via bank, western union, Skrill, Payoneer, Cashapp, Zelle or any platform in your country.
To explain the process of buying funds, we have John in the U.S, and he wants to place an order of $1000. To do so, John will visit a marketplace where transfers are available, find a vendor, and buy the transfer at the cost of 30-50%.
Now depending on the method used by the seller, John's account will be flagged in a few hours, days, weeks, or even months and as a result, he can no longer use it because he will have a negative balance on the account owing to a chargeback.
A chargeback happens when the payment processor used negates the balance and returns the funds to the owner.
Well, it does not always work on every given system so what happens in a majority of the cases is that the money transmitter will close the account because the customer has acted in violation of the policy agreements.
Since the practice of illegal money transfers on the dark web is widespread, financial fraud has become one of the most profitable ventures.
Not only do vendors on the darknet offer PayPal transfers, they can also sell high-balance hacked accounts with the email, password, browser cookies, and security questions for the buyer to cashout the money on their own.
Sale of Credit Cards
Card sellers on the dark web are increasing, looking for ways to compromise avenues that accept card payments.
By having a continuous source of freshly hacked cards, they can get buyers who use the data on money transfer platforms as explained above.
Also, such cards are used to facilitate payments on online avenues. Upon purchasing a card, the buyer will use it until it becomes dead – mostly because the owner has filed a complaint with the issuing company.
Hackers for Hire
There are several legitimate avenues on the dark web where one can find hackers for hire. These forums are either discussion panels or sites where someone can directly solicit hacking activities.
The services offered include Zero-day exploits, which have been reducing, malware distribution, DDoS attacks, and hacking social media accounts, among others.
Hacking services on the darknet can be sought by spying spouses, companies that want to bring down competitors, fraudsters, and lastly other hackers themselves.
Some of this information may be surprising, but security officers in top government agencies also seek to employ hackers as well. An example is when two Russian spies hired cybercriminals to infiltrate Yahoo to use the information for targeted attacks on other government employees, as well as individual users.