Wannabe hackers looking to dip their toes into online fraud can get their hands on tools to start hacking for around the price of a cup of takeaway coffee, according to the latest Dark Web Market Price Index by Virtual Private Network (VPN) comparison service Top10VPN.com.
‘Entry-level’ hacking tools, such as readymade phishing pages, software to compromise WiFi networks and files to help hack passwords all go for under $3.96 on the dark web.
Coupled with the availability of how-to guides on the dark web – meaning rookie hackers need no prior knowledge of how to carry out attacks – there’s a real concern that online fraud could be becoming more commonplace.
A wide variety of hacking tools can be purchased on the dark web – from software such as remote access trojans that can take over your computer and card cloning software, to heavy duty hardware including kits allowing you to spoof mobile phone masts in order to intercept texts and calls from connecting devices.
For criminals wanting to commit a range of scams, it’s possible to assemble a complete online fraud toolkit for around $130, with equipment allowing hackers to infect people with malware and hack WiFi networks – all with a view to stealing their personal info to commit identity theft.
The following table details the price of equipment in a hackers’ toolkit that can be bought on the dark web – a full table can be found below:
|Category||Average value on dark web||Sales price explained|
|Anonymity Tool||$13.86||Hackers wanting to cover their tracks can do so cheaply. This price includes crypters, used to disguise malware as benign files.|
|Carding Software||$44.62||Used alongside readily available hardware, this very powerful software allows con artists to clone credit and debit cards.|
|Cryptocurrency Fraud Malware||$6.61||Cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin or Monero, is attractive to cybercriminals due to its potential for anonymous transactions and rocketing value.|
|Keylogger||$2.08||Simple yet effective software that captures every keystroke on your computer|
|Malware||$49.37||Among the malware listed on the dark web were custom instances of ransomware that will lock up your computer, permanently encrypting its contents unless a ransom is paid.|
|Phishing Page||$2.73||There are ready-made phishing pages – set up to mimic trusted brands – for the world’s most popular consumer brands across the dark web.|
|Remote Access Trojan||$11.17||This nasty strain of malware allows a hacker to take full control of your computer. Not only can they log all your keystrokes and access private files in order to commit identity theft and defraud you, but it’s also common for voyeurs to use these so-called RATs for webcam spying.|
|WiFi Hacking Software||$3.02||It’s possible to access this type of software for free on the normal web – as security experts use this to stress test wireless networks – so dark web vendors sell cheaply and tend to offer bundles including additional resources and even customer support to tempt buyers.|
At the other end of the price scale, readymade brand-specific phishing pages – tricking customers into believing they are entering details on bonafide Paypal, Facebook or Apple web pages – fetch around $2.50.
Fraudsters can also pick up complete ‘how-to’ guides for phishing or carrying out malware attacks for around $11.50 on average, but frequently less. However, some vendors will throw these comprehensive guides in for free as a sweetener with the sale of hacking tools.
Simon Migliano, Head of Research at Top10VPN.com, said: “With state ordered cyber breaches frequently hitting the news agenda, it’s easy to forget that the majority of hack attacks aren’t particularly sophisticated or carried out by shady organisations.
“In fact, this research suggests that even rookie fraudsters can get their hands on what they need to commit online fraud for less than the cost of a pint of beer. While guides about how to commit these crimes abound on the dark web, many of the listed tools come readymade for people with even the most basic of understandings.
“Pre-configured password hacking tools and templated phishing pages, for example, are effectively ready for use and retail for less than a couple of quid on the dark web. Perhaps more worryingly, this research dug up examples of phishing pages for practically every popular brand, from tech giants like Apple and Paypal through to popular mobile games and apps such as League of Legends and Fitbit.
“For a little more than pocket change, hackers can perform more sophisticated attacks. We found countless listings for tools to commit cryptocurrency fraud through malware attacks that would then allow criminals to access lucrative Bitcoin accounts – with the price of Bitcoin currently worth just under $8,000 a pop.
“With more and more people suffering cyber attacks every year, it’s clear that this affordable market for hacking tools is catalysing a higher incidence of more everyday hacks. The perception that hacks are purely the territory of techy bedroom warriors or organisations like Anonymous is increasingly a thing of the past – and all consumers need to be aware of that.”