10 little-known facts about the cyber black market

Juniper Networks lifts the lid on the shadowy underbelly of the digital economy
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A global report, Markets for Cybercrime Tools and Stolen Data: Hackers’ Bazaar, sponsored by Juniper Networks and conducted by the RAND Corporation, reveals several ‘little-known’ facts about the cyber black market. (SOURCE: Juniper Networks).
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1. MATURE: The cyber black market has a mature economy, which mirrors that of other free markets in both innovation and growth.
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2. REGULATED: The black market is well-structured, regulated and policed, with its own rules similar to a constitution.
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3. VETTING: There is an intense vetting process to validate people, products and payments in the black market.
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4. CREDIT CARDS: Credit card data from the Middle East is considered to be of less value than counterparts in other countries. Indeed, European cards are considered the most valuable with, European cards tending to have higher credit limits. On the other hand, many Euro cards are deemed highly secure because they use a chip-and-PIN with signature system.
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5. CRIMINALS AMONG CRIMINALS: The criminal cyber black market is plagued by ‘criminals’. That is, people who are trying to swindle those doing the real work. Rippers, as they are known, do not provide the goods or services they claim to. One estimate suggests 30% of sellers on the black market are rippers.
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6. GUARANTEES: Like consumer goods, black market products come with guarantees including lifespan and value, and they also have ‘terms of use’. Like consumer goods, black market vendors can better track what a customer does with their product to make sure terms of use are not broken – considered a sort of ‘digital rights management’.
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7. MORE PROFITABLE THAN DRUGS: The black market can be more much profitable than the illegal drug trade. Links to end-users are more direct, and worldwide distribution, being electronic, is trivial. Certain digital assets, like credit card information, can be sold to multiple sources, where as a physical asset (such as drugs) can only be sold to a single source.
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8. TWITTER INFO TRUMPS CREDIT CARDS: A Twitter account credential can cost more to purchase than a stolen credit card. Widespread breaches tend to flood the market with credit card information – driving down prices. At the same time, social media account information can lead to other account information – such as banking, drawing higher prices.
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9. BARGAINS ABOUND: Like old products in a regular store, old data goes on clearance. Credit card data prices may start at AED75 ($20) per record if there is a limited supply or AED35 to AED45 ($10 to $12) if there is an influx. But when data gets stale, it may go on sale for AED25 ($7) per record.
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10. GEOGRAPHY IS KEY: Different geographic regions and nations tend to specialise in different types of attacks. China is thought to lead in IP exfiltration, Vietnam focuses on e-commerce, whereas Eastern Europe exploits concentrate on financial institutions.