Cybercriminals are not just a few groups of highly specialized hackers with secret techniques. There is a very organized parallel market on the dark Web where not only your personal information is resold, but many guides exist to teach beginners to hack accounts or steal data.
High-tech devices are becoming more and more a part of our daily lives, thanks in particular to the development of teleworking and increasingly intelligent connected objects. This represents a gold mine of personal information that attracts more and more hackers who try to access your accounts and sell themselves at a high price on the dark Web. However, the best-sellers on forums where this kind of content is exchanged are not personal data.
Fraud guides, the top seller among hackers
A recent study by Terbium Labs found that nearly half of the information sold on the dark web is actually “fraud guides”, manuals for fraud. These are tutorials, often accompanied by templates, vector images and official seals, which teach the different techniques of cyberfraud. These guides are accessible to beginners, and allow them to learn the basics of hacking.
Fraud guides cover five main areas, starting with the most classic: account piracy (e-mail, banking, etc.). Others learn how to set up a phishing campaign, in order to gain access to the victim’s accounts by directing him to a fake site. Then comes the doxing, where personal data is publicly disclosed for harm and revenge. These targeted attacks incite Internet users to harass the victim, and can even lead to swatting, where the victim is denounced as a dangerous criminal to have him arrested by armed intervention forces, such as Swat in the United States.
Organized crime on the dark Web
Other guides cover the use of stolen means of payment, such as credit cards or gift cards. The last category covers fraud based on synthetic identity, where real personal data is mixed with false information in order to limit the risk of being detected. All these manuals even allow beginners to engage in criminal activities, and represent 49% of all information sold on the dark Web. Ironically, 11% of fraud guides are themselves fraudulent.
The other types of data sold are personal data, which represent 15.6% of this market, followed by accounts and identifiers not related to financial services (couriers, streaming services, etc.) to the tune of 12.2%. Finally, 8.2% of sales are financial accounts and identifiers, 8% are fraud tools and templates, and 7% are payment cards.
All of this shows how organized hackers are to target their victims, and highlights the importance of protecting themselves. A VPN such as Surfshark secures your connection by encrypting all the data exchanged, be it pages viewed, downloads, video, etc. Your privacy is protected since only the VPN knows your IP address. The service also offers “Surfshark Search”, a search engine that does not keep history, and “Surfshark Alert”, which alerts you if your credentials have been stolen and published on the Web.