Cybercriminals can easily own and deploy low-cost malware and ransomware with Bitcoins, says study
Owning malware – it appears, doesn’t require any technical knowledge or background, only some Bitcoins and thorough research around the Dark Web ecosystem.
The latest study from tech publication firm CyberNews, titled – “Report: buying your own malware has never been easier” came up with many interesting insights about malware. With easy steps, many hackers are rapidly becoming owners of powerful malicious tools. Over time, malware deployments have become sophisticated, and the number of attacks is also increasing. This signals the democratization of tools that are allowing inexperienced cybercriminals to dominate the comprehensive information and data.
As per the report, with the help of underground message boards and Dark Web search, criminals can easily own cheap and widespread “off-the-shelf malware and ransomware.” It is noted that “What we found exceeded our expectations far beyond what we initially anticipated. As it turns out, you don’t have to be a programmer or even have any specialized technical knowledge to buy or create malware. In fact, the entry bar is set so low that practically anyone can do it–all you need is an online wallet loaded with some Bitcoin.”
Basically, the encrypted Trojans can remain undetected even by sophisticated antivirus tools. The custom-built ransomware is created as per the users’ specifications. In fact, remote cybercrime education for the “aspiring ‘online entrepreneurs’, is all and easily available for would-be cybercriminals – for the right price.”
Researchers have investigated and analyzed about ten DarkNet marketplaces. These malware marketplaces are actually easy to find and open to any individual. The deadly malware is cheaply and readily available on the net, and with free programs that allow almost anyone to own. For instance, for about $50, the cybercriminals and ‘would-be’ criminals can get advanced tools about cybercrime forums that can function in the open. Besides, it has customer support for such tools, which includes free updates and troubleshooting services.
The report also mentioned, “In the many shadow markets of today, malware is easily bought, sold and traded on websites that are basically Dark Web versions of Craigslist…Most of the malware tools sold in these entry-level websites are of inferior quality, made by neophyte hackers looking to make their names in cyberspace. On the other end of the spectrum are invite-only message boards, accessible only via the TOR network and run by veteran Eastern European cybercriminals who offer high-grade products used by serious clientele.”
The popular malware tools and data-stealing Trojans can hack anything – passwords, web history, cookies, pictures from webcams, credit card data, chat sessions from messengers, and the list goes on. And such data-stealing brands are available for $50 to $150, along with the support features. And the expensive brands’ prices range from $400 to $5,000 as they include modular bots and banking Trojans.
Clearly, the key to use malware and ransomware requires no skills but knowing how to find the tools from the Dark Web websites. The increasing decentralization of the malware indicates the availability of advanced cybersecurity options. Generally available knowledge of how malware is created, traded, and exploited, could actually bring many miscreants in the open and can save us from cybercrime. Also, it can help in creating protective strategies for the flood of cybercrime rush today.