It’s becoming cheaper than ever to buy hacking tools online.
Intelligence analysts found that business is booming in underground markets for Russian and other hackers, according to a new report released Tuesday by security firm Dell SecureWorks Inc.
Malware, which includes viruses and other software intended to disrupt computer users, is becoming “much cheaper and continues to offer a low barrier to entry for cybercriminals looking to steal information,” wrote the analysts, who scoured dozens of sites on the dark web over the past eight months.
Among the findings: Hackers are offering to steal personal emails from Gmail or Yahoo accounts for around $129. The report, which didn’t detail the extent to which the online hackers delivered on their promises, said one illicit service boasted that emails could be snatched without the victim noticing any suspicious activity.
Offers to hack into corporate email accounts cost more: $500 per mailbox, the security firm said.
The findings come amid growing concerns among law-enforcement officials about the burgeoning hacker-for-hire market, which allows anyone with Internet access and a bit of money to potentially wreak havoc on computer networks. Hacking has become a way to facilitate all sorts of crimes, from illegal gambling to insider trading.
Tutorials for new hackers, such as how to send phishing emails, can be purchased online for $20 to $40, the report said. Remote access “trojans,” which allow cybercriminals to secretly control other people’s computers from a distance, can go for as little as $5 to $10.
The report suggests that hackers are operating more like regular businesses, with many Russian hackers touting 24/7 customer service. Analysts found hackers hawking their goods like a typical startup company. One ad offered “free-trial attacks” and “huge abilities.”
Standard goods for identity theft like credit card numbers, bank account credentials and passports are still popular on the dark web. Dell SecureWorks also found that hackers are now selling frequent flyer accounts and hotel points accounts, a trend previously reported by The Wall Street Journal. These points can be exchanged on legitimate websites for gift cards.