The market that will sell you a $20,000 bank loan for $30

Wikipedia defines the dark web, sometimes also called the dark net, as a part of the internet that exists in an encrypted world of networks within networks.

Requiring specific software to access the dark websites themselves, most commonly the Tor browser, this little corner of the internet is both an anonymous haven for whistleblowers and political activists, as well as a marketplace highly profitable where criminals sell their ill-gotten gains.

Flashpoint intelligence analysts have examined the economics of cybercrime through the lens of dark web market prices over the past two years. Everything is for sale here, from a $20,000 bank loan for next to nothing, to services that will attack sites and services on a rental basis.

Sourced from the most popular cybercrime markets, some of which have now shut down, as my colleague Zak Doffman wrote about earlier in the year, prices today remain representative of the dark web as a whole.

The dark web economy

On September 13, I wrote about how an earlier dive into the dark web economy by researchers at the Armor Threat Resistance Unit revealed it was possible to trade $800 (£630) worth of Bitcoin for $10,000 (£7,900) in cash. At the time, it looked like an unbeatable deal for those willing to break the law and face jail time. And then came the Flashpoint analysts who found even bigger illicit “bargains” in these dark web markets. Access to a compromised bank account, known as a ‘bank log’ in cybercrime parlance, with a balance of $10,000 (£7,900), could be yours for $25 (£19.75 ), for example. While personal information packages enabling a criminal to steal the victim’s identity, or ‘fullz’ as they are called, and obtain a promised bank loan of $20,000 (£15,800) were offered for only $5 (£4) more. If that sounds cheap, fullz bundles start at around $4 (£3) as they’re considered a staple item in these circles.

Ian Gray, the Flashpoint intelligence analyst who authored the October 15 report, said: “Fullz that include the victim’s financial information often cost more because they can be used for a wider variety of fraud than personally identifiable information (PII) without such information. information.” Some of the resellers in the marketplace even price their fullz packages based on the credit score attached to the individual, with a correlation between the asking price and the score level.

It’s not just cold money for sale on the dark web

Because these dark web markets, by their very nature, attract the criminal element of society, the items on offer reflect this. So alongside a database claiming to contain the PII of some 92 million Brazilian citizens, auctioned off with a starting price of $15,000 (£11,875), you can also find drugs, both medicinal and recreational drugs, weapons and passports.

The passport market is particularly interesting and can be divided into three main categories. The cheapest are scanned passports with the buyer’s details entered starting at $5 (£4), and the most expensive are actual physical passports, which can cost up to $5,000 (£4,000). However, the most popular category is passport. model allowing the buyer to complete his information. The price of these models varies, but the report found US passports of this nature for $18 (£14.25), Canadian passports costing $26 (£20.50) and the Netherlands at $50 ( £40) being the most expensive.

The variety of goods for sale on the dark web doesn’t stop there. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are sold “as a service”, with criminals renting time on their DDoS attack botnets. “Most attacks remain focused on cheating in video games and personal harassment,” Gray said in the report, which is reflected in low rental costs starting at $0.35 (£0.28) for ten minutes, $25 (£19.75) for a day. and the biggest money earmarked for deals such as attacking any site for five hours which had a price tag of $250 (£197.50).

Although cybercrime continues to thrive and threat actors are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their attack methodologies, the Flashpoint Report reveals that much of the pricing of illicit commodities has remained relatively static over the of the last two years. It’s not entirely surprising, if I’m being honest. The buyer bears a higher risk than the seller in these transactions. The anonymity offered, although not always guaranteed by dark web networks, means that the seller feels relatively safe. The buyer, on the other hand, must come out of the shadows to profit from his purchases. The risk of getting caught and the huge legal ramifications of doing so make these dark websites a buyer’s market, hence the low prices.

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