These postings provide cybercriminals with the information needed to hack into networks where they can infect critical machines with malware, according to Positive Technologies.
The Dark Web is an underground marketplace where criminals trade in all sorts of illegal or malicious items. One valuable product up for sale consists of information that can help hackers break into corporate networks. Comprised of malware and services, this type of information has seen an increase in Dark Web postings over the past couple of years. A report published Wednesday by enterprise security provider Positive Technologies illustrates the rise of “access for sale” exploits.
“Access for sale” on the Dark Web is a generic term that refers to software, exploits, credentials, or anything else that allows hackers to illicitly control one or more remote computers. Under this approach, criminals sell access to the networks of industrial companies, professional services companies, financial firms, scientific organizations, schools, and IT organizations. Such access allows attackers to directly target business networks or hire skilled “professionals” to hack into networks to infect machines with malware.
For the fourth quarter of 2019, Positive Technologies found that 50 access points to networks of major companies around the world were publicly up for sale on the Dark Web. That was the same number for all of 2018. For just the first quarter of 2020, that number shot up to 80, revealing a major increase over the past two years.
Along with the surge in the number of access points for sale, there’s been an increase in both the scope of that access and the selling prices. Just a year ago, cybercriminals were content to sell access to individual corporate servers for as little as $20 a shot.
Now, hackers are selling access to a company’s entire network infrastructure and asking for commissions of up to 30% of the potential profits. The average cost of privileged access to a local network is around $5,000, but the asking price can range from $500 to $100,000.