Black Markets for Hackers Are Increasingly Sophisticated, Specialized and Maturing
Mar 24, 2014
Criminal activities in cyberspace are increasingly facilitated by burgeoning black markets. This report characterizes these markets and how they have grown into their current state to provide insight into how their existence can harm the information security environment. Understanding these markets lays the groundwork for exploring options to minimize their potentially harmful influence.
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Criminal activities in cyberspace are increasingly facilitated by burgeoning black markets for both tools (e.g., exploit kits) and take (e.g., credit card information). This report, part of a multiphase study on the future security environment, describes the fundamental characteristics of these markets and how they have grown into their current state to explain how their existence can harm the information security environment. Understanding the current and predicted landscape for these markets lays the groundwork for follow-on exploration of options to minimize the potentially harmful influence these markets impart. Experts agree that the coming years will bring more activity in darknets, more use of crypto-currencies, greater anonymity capabilities in malware, and more attention to encrypting and protecting communications and transactions; that the ability to stage cyberattacks will likely outpace the ability to defend against them; that crime will increasingly have a networked or cyber component, creating a wider range of opportunities for black markets; and that there will be more hacking for hire, as-a-service offerings, and brokers. Experts disagree, however, on who will be most affected by the growth of the black market (e.g., small or large businesses, individuals), what products will be on the rise (e.g., fungible goods, such as data records and credit card information; non-fungible goods, such as intellectual property), or which types of attacks will be most prevalent (e.g., persistent, targeted attacks; opportunistic, mass "smash-and-grab" attacks).
Introduction and Research Methodology
Characteristics of the Black Market
The Black Market and Botnets
Zero-Day Vulnerabilities in the Black and Gray Markets
Are Hacker Black Markets Mature?
Projections and Predictions for the Black Market
For Future Research
Text of the Black Market Timeline
The research described in this report was sponsored by Juniper Networks and conducted within the Acquisition and Technology Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division.
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