The internal records of as many as 25 000 Homeland Security Department employees have been exposed during a recent computer break-in. (Kin Cheung, AP, file)
Cape Town – Despite increasing reports of cyber criminal operations from around the world, an investigation has revealed that the nature of cyber crime is diverse and constantly evolving.
According to a report from security firm Trend Micro, there is no singular criminal underground cyber criminal network. Instead, the company’s analysis of the underground found that cyber crooks use multiple internet tools and collaborations to their advantage.
“Though there may not be a global cyber criminal underground market, Trend Micro has found that cyber criminals worldwide collaborate with one another, sharing tools, intel, and even best practices with peers,” the company said of its research paper, Cybercrime and the Deep Web.
The report, which covered six main markets, found distinct differences in operations that defined the interactions of cyber activities.
“Stiff competition pushes sellers to step up their game by providing goods in the shortest amount of time and most efficient manner possible. Marketplaces like fe-ccshop.su, which sells credit card dumps and Rescator, which offers carding services through Lampeduza, among others, have taken the place of yesteryear’s forums,” the report said about the Russian underground.
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In the North America, cyber criminals operate in a “glass tank” said the report. The strategy encourages novices to join, while the Canadian underground specifically sells fake or stolen documents and credentials to the international market.
According to the Trend Micro, the most advanced underground market exists in China where both hardware and software is up for ssale.
“It not only sells the usual array of software and services found in its counterparts, but also hardware. It adapts the fastest to the latest in cybercrime trends and leads the way in terms of cyber criminal innovation. And true to its adaptive nature, it now boasts of uncommon offerings like leaked-data search engine privacy protection services that can only be dubbed ‘made in China’,” said the report.
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Products for sale in the underground market include fake documents, credit card clones, child pornography, malware, attack services and point of sale skimmers. The US is unique because it is the only market where murder for hire and assassinations are offered, the report found.
Trend Micro found that as more people were active on the Deep Web – a hidden internet resource – threats were likely increase.
“As the landscape changes, aided by the increasing use of the Deep Web along with other bigger and better tools and tactics, threats will become harder to detect, attacks harder to mitigate, and their effects harder to remediate.”
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