The Internet has brought us a phenomenal tool that has launched an era of productivity and connectivity that in times past would have been unimaginable. And like every great tool, it can be used for an unfortunate darker and malicious purpose. Let me introduce you to the Internet’s more sinister side; the black market world of illegal activity, drug trafficking, and selling stolen data.
Crime flourishes on the Internet for several reasons, but by far, the major contributor is the identity concealment that the web can provide. In particular, the anonymity browser, named Tor, offers criminals the means to go about their activities in ways which reduce their chances of being detected by law enforcement. Often, these black markets are only capable of being accessed through Tor, acting and hiding in fear of being identified and brought to justice.
Not all online black markets attempt to hide themselves like this. Some illegal black marketers do not make sustainability a rule. There are many underground black marketers in North America that will simply sell to anyone. They do not care whether the buyer is seasoned criminal or not. In fact, some of these underground black market sites can be found on what’s called the “Surface Web”. This is the Internet that is accessible to anyone and it’s seen by the average user. Would-be criminals can access these sites by specifically knowing what to search for, and this ease-of-use allows this crime industry to grow exponentially.
Facts from Trend Micro via TechRepublic chart details how the online crime market is primarily used.
It is no surprise that drugs are a major component of the online cybercrime industry. Coming in at second and third are stolen data dumps, and crimeware. Most disturbing is that fact there are even online plots for assassinations, which makes the online black market an exceptionally dangerous entity.
There are lessons to be learned here. Cyber criminals are wily, extremely resourceful, and tough to stop. They will use any and all means at their disposal to turn a profit without a second thought. This is why it’s so challenging to protect your business from hackers and other online threats, especially considering how anyone can use the Internet to purchase code to exploit vulnerabilities, acquire data dumps, and buy other sensitive credentials.
Business owners need to realize that there is a market for their sensitive data, and that it needs to be protected at all costs. Ensure that your company has a proactive technology management program in place to identify and minimize these risks, and to handle these very real threats.