Cybercriminals aren’t just a few very specialized hacker groups with secret techniques. A whole parallel and highly organized market exist on the dark web where not only is your personal information resold, but there are plenty of guides out there for teaching newbies how to hack accounts or steal data.
High-tech devices are interfering more and more in our daily lives, in particular thanks 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 bestsellers 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 almost 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 various techniques of cyber fraud. These guides are accessible to beginners, and allow them to learn the basics of hacking.
The fraud guides cover five main areas, starting with the most classic: account hacking (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 them to a fake site. Next is doxing, where personal data is disclosed publicly to cause harm and revenge. These targeted attacks encourage Internet users to harass the victim, and can even lead to swatting, where the victim is denounced as a dangerous criminal to be 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 payment methods, such as bank cards or gift cards. The last category covers synthetic identity-based fraud, where real personal data is mixed with false information in order to limit the risk of being detected. All of these textbooks allow even beginners to engage in criminal activity and account for 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 represents 15.6% of this market, followed by accounts and identifiers not linked to financial services (messaging, streaming services, etc.) up to 12.2%. %. Finally, 8.2% of sales consist of financial services accounts and identifiers, 8% fraud tools, and templates, and 7% payment cards.
All of this shows how organized hackers are to target their victims, and underscores the importance of protecting yourself. A VPN like Surfshark secures your connection by encrypting all the data exchanged, be it pages viewed, downloads, video… 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 a history, and “Surfshark Alert”, which alerts you if your credentials have been stolen and posted on the web.
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