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Dark Economy

“This pandemic is great for my business!” said very few people.

Unless you’re a hacker. And then it’s likely that business is booming. We don’t think of cybercriminals as businesspeople. We tend to think they are individuals lurking about in hoodies in their basement. Quite the opposite – or so we have found through investigations and the exposure of organizations that steal our information. These are well organized and structured businesses that thrive – or fail – within their own economies. That means that supply and demand dictate prices and demand. Stolen credentials, compromised accounts, credit card information, identification details, and the list goes on – they all hold a value that will rise and fall as dictated by their economy.

Recently the Dark Web Price Index 2020 revealed the menu of cybercrime options and their current value. Starting at just $15, you can acquire a cloned Mastercard WITH the PIN. And over here, for the low, low price of $20, you can be hooked up with credit card details that include an available balance of up to $5000!

It is sickening. And very disheartening to think that one quick mistake can lead to hours and hours – days in fact, of lost time trying to recover what was stolen from you so quickly and sold at such a minuscule amount, comparatively speaking. And that is just on the personal identification front. Imagine if those credentials came linked to a business? The damage that is incurred goes beyond one individual and can destroy multiple lives with job loss, lawsuits, and so on.

Supply and Demand

There has been a move away from certain types of cybercriminal activity based on the economy of the dark web. For instance, the cost to obtain someone’s full identity has decreased from recent years because of a surplus in available credentials due to the success of several large breaches. Yes, just like sugar and wheat, if there is too much, the cost goes down.

Ransomware has been on the decline as of late, and DDoS attacks have risen in popularity. Why? It seems that the low cost of $10 per hour to deploy one offers a discount that can’t be passed up. The scale and bandwidth of the damage is greater as well, offering more ‘bang for your buck’.

Furthermore, according to the Global Risks Report 2020, the punishment is unlikely to occur in the United States – IF they are ever even caught. Low risk, high payout. You can see how the rise in cybercrime isn’t going away anytime soon. Ok, let’s be honest, it’s never going away.

How to Deal

You deal with the rise and the risk by not ignoring it. Take action AHEAD of time. Acknowledge that the danger is present, the damage may not be repairable, and you need to make a plan to be proactive as well as reactive. We say it over and over and again, but you can’t wait for the ‘one day’ – you need to take action today and train, inform, remind, educate, protect – utilize ALL of the ways to make the point to your employees, your clients, and your family and friends. It matters.