HackTown (Accessible via the onion address http://hacktownpagdenbb.onion) is a platform created to educate visitors and members on cybercriminal techniques, thereby grooming them to become professional cybercriminals. All courses on the site focus on hacking-for-profit with an emphasis on methods required to pull off successful fraud attacks.
According to information posted on the website’s landing page, the platform’s offered courses are packed with knowledge and skills required by threat actors to successfully target individuals and organizations.
Importantly, the site content is created to be consumed by all classes of hacking enthusiasts – including prospective cybercriminals with little to no computer programming experience and all classes of hackers that operate across various economic levels.
What Does the Site Offer?
On the site, a persona called “Funshine” credits themselves with writing the content on the learning platform. The creator describes himself as a freelance Blackhat, nation state contractor, dark web phisher, forum lurking master and ex-associate at a well-known hacking firm.
The following courses are offered on the website:
This course aims to advance user knowledge on the techniques used in hacking WiFi networks and OPSEC which happens to the first step a user takes in their journey to become a seasoned cybercriminal.
OPSEC and WiFi Hacking
The course outline on OPSEC & WiFi Hacking.
This section has 9 chapters that cover the following topics:
A guide for beginners, system requirements for OPSEC, Anonymous crypto, PGP, email addresses for account registration, required WiFi hardware and techniques used in cracking WiFi networks.
Importantly, the site offers guidelines regarding the basic requirements needed to successfully hack individuals and organizations while staying under clear of the radar of law enforcement agents.
First, a user must dedicate a specific computer to cybercriminal activities by ensuring that such a system does not connect to their home WiFi network or any other network that can help the police establish a trail on the hacker’s real identity.
According to this guide, the laptop used for carding and hacking must not be used for personal reasons – including social media activity or checking personal emails for any reason whatsoever. In addition, the guide stresses the importance of avoiding the temptation to connect a personal mobile handset to a computer used for cybercriminal attacks.
In case you have tried hacking your neighbor’s WiFi or the network belonging to your favorite coffee shop, and not sure where to hit next, this category of Hacktown guides suits you. From upgrading your skills to allow you put your recently-purchased ransomware to actual use.
This course, which is tied to the first lesson on OPSEC and WiFi hacking, will be useful to both aspiring and seasoned cybercriminals.
The course outline on Network Attacks.
Specifically, this category offers 11 chapters covering the following topics:
- Ways of accessing the router admin panel
- Ways of brute forcing a router admin panel
- How to locate target’s on a network
- Router exploitation
- Printer exploitation
- Updated information on the latest Man-In-The-Middle (MITM) attacks
- How an aspiring hacker can execute MITM attacks
- Scripts and programs relevant to network attacks
As a pro tip, this course advises users on being comfortable with launching MITM attacks against selected targets occurring on the same network. The importance of practicing hacking skills was emphasized – a new hacker is bound to achieve superior effectiveness at hacking when they invest more time and effort in the activity. Repetitive activity will inform a hacker about the specific method that works best for them.
In addition, the site mobilizes the relevance of social engineering towards hacker success. A cybercriminal is bound to dupe people successfully if they invest heavily on an attractive an authentic-looking webpage, where target people will be redirected to. This calls for significant effort towards having a professional and relevant-looking landing page.
This course focuses on the world of credit card and bank account fraud. The information that is posted on the platform is an aggregate of the wealth of experience gathered by the website creator’s rich cybercriminal career.
The course outline on fraud lessons.
This section has 8 chapters that cover the following topics:
Hacker mindset, antifraud knowledge, failures in carding efforts, levels of carding and the range of equipment required in carding schemes.
The site highlights the importance of fraudster mindset by cautioning new entrants against holding high expectations regarding a first-time hacking career. Specifically, a user should not aim six-figure returns in the first year – but consider the possibility of making only a few hundred dollars a month before aiming high.
The first course advises on the importance of setting realistic goals when using HackTown’s guides. This aspect holds truth even when considering the relativity of reality as far as a career in cybercrime is concerned. Fact is, a cybercriminal starting out on the trade should avoid taking advice from a guide that distorts the real world scenarios by creating a fantasy about monumental economic gains.
According to Funshine’s experience in cybercrime, true success was not just realized through the gathering of vast knowledge – including making purchases of several guides, studying the wide range of discussions in hacking forums and engaging experienced persons. The hacker realized that all the effort was not going to make him an overnight millionaire as most people would expect.
The site notes the unfortunate reality concerning a lot of guides that are being distributed online – a lot of information being shared on carding techniques is not reliable. HackTown’s creator made a quick realization that no one out there is ready to surrender information about a profitable way to engage in carding and fraud, such a move would reflect negatively on the profitability of their operations.
The Cybercriminal Website of the Future
HackTown’s relevance in the current cybercriminal industry can be studied through its content, relevance and credibility in a field that’s riddled with scammers and imposters.
An Experienced and Credible Creator
The site creator, Funshine, is a hacking guru with lots of experience up his sleeve – considering his history and progress since establishing the platform.
According to his own account, the creator formerly worked with a cyber-group before deciding to start his own outfit through partnership. Funshine’s tenure at the hacking group hit the rocks when political issues surrounding the nation state era in which the hackers received several politically-instigated contracts. A series of events led to the arrest of the hacker’s colleague – an aspect that advised their exit.
Thereafter, one of Funshine’s colleagues went on to establish an unsuccessful project before joining him to create HackTown. According to the site creator, the founding partner happens to be a seasoned hacker with a robust reputation across various cybercriminal forums.
The site was created with the primary purpose of covering topics surrounding the business of hacking for profit, an aspect that fits perfectly into the needs of the modern-day hacker. Considering that the platform creates guides that teach people how to compromise individuals, small businesses and organizations to make money, HackTown offers potentially lucrative advice to aspiring cybercriminals.
In terms of site relevance, the current reality that cybercriminals do not need to learn advanced computer programming means that HackTown’s content may provide significant traction to hacking campaigns.
Today, a large number of malware developers sell a whole assortment of sophisticated malicious software. The hacking guides created by this site possess the knowledge that a hacker needs to unlock the range of possibilities as far as making money through cybercrime is concerned. Importantly, the hacking guides have been simplified to cater for various levels of cyber expertise.
Continuous Content Production
HackTown provides free courses on their platform, including a host of added content to paid members. According to information on the site, the platform’s content creator releases courses regularly to ensure that visitors and subscribers get value for their time.
Specifically, the site aims to create courses every quarter or twice a year with paid member access to a private forum that’s dedicated to the course releases. To ensure that users learn effectively, the site intends to provide courses in an organized cascade to eliminate the problem of random knowledge sharing.
Which Communities are Linked to HackTown?
The site creator provided information about the three underground communities where he can be located.
Figure 5: Funshine's contact details.
These communities include:
This is a non-profit platform that describes itself as a revolutionary crypto-driven forum that offers a wide range of functions as far as global operation is concerned. The self-governing community forum executes a wide range of uses that extend beyond the blockchain technology – boasting of interactive attributes that meet the needs of the cybercriminal world.
Among the features born in the platform include token depository, upmarket, gambling activities and a token reward system.
This is an encrypted forum with an open source code, which ensures user security within the boundaries of private communication to suit cybercriminal interests. Importantly, the messages transmitted through the platform are stored in the forum’s database in an encrypted format.
This is a renowned Reddit-like dark web forum that hosts discussions surrounding updates on darknet markets. This forum has grew to become a popular online hub following the seizure of DeepDotWeb. The platform’s admin uses the moniker “HugBunter” and manages site operations that have seen its members dwell on law enforcement activity and cybercrime.
Point to note, Dread’s prominence was assured after Reddit banned a number of darknet market discussion communities that operated within its space.