Flashpoint released an annual research report that looks to uncover the growing complexity of illicit communities and the industrialization of cybercrime over the past year. In the report, researchers highlight prolific trends that pose the greatest risk to organizations and their critical assets.
Malicious actors regularly congregate in the Deep and Dark Web to plan, execute, and profit from a range of illicit activity – from hacking, financial fraud, and intellectual property theft to terrorism and other violent acts. Intelligence about this activity can help organizations prepare for the latest threats before they surface.
Identified trends in the Deep and Dark Web
Anyone can be a cybercriminal. The barrier to entry for would-be cybercriminals continues to lower, thanks in part to expanding toolsets, such as the variety of malware-as-a-service offerings now available.
Get your drugs here. Drugs are more desirable and accessible through dark net markets than ever before, resulting in 50 percent of all Tor markets offering narcotics. The growth in online drug markets will cause increased interest in dark net markets.
The public domain is the Wild West. With conversations on encryption and privacy entering the political realm, and with no legislature or governance in place to address the use of hidden services, the uptick in Tor and I2P services will continue, as well as the exploitation of these services to conduct illicit and malicious activity.
Not the fortune, but the fame. The politically and financially motivated actors are still a threat to all governments, organizations and individuals that don’t line up with their agenda. But another dangerous actor group flourished in 2015 – those motivated by chaos and fame. Their actions and goals are much more challenging to predict.
Cybercrime and terrorism without borders. The internationalization and globalization of cybercrime is inevitable. In 2015, Flashpoint saw Chinese communities automating with real force for the first time and expanding internationally, taking their business to Russian forums. Jihadist communities also continued to leverage Deep and Dark Web forums. These communities have been invigorated with younger, more tech-savvy talent who offer strong support for ISIS, creating an increased risk to the West and farther reach for the terrorist group.
“Organizations have come to realize the value of staying ahead of cyber and physical threats by leveraging intelligence from the Deep and Dark Web that provides context and an enhanced understanding of risks and exposure,” said Josh Lefkowitz, CEO of Flashpoint. “Tactical, operational, and strategic intelligence reduces costs from fraud, data loss, and reputational damage and provides insight into potential criminal or terrorist activities that could affect the organization’s business, employees, partners, and customers.”