It is no surprise that the world's largest organisations are the most popular targets for hackers for the vast amounts of data, intellectual property, and financial information they hold, and a recent study has confirmed that as many as 40 percent of hackers operating in the Dark Web are selling hacking tools that specifically target FTSE 100 or Fortune 500 companies.
The fact that the most sophisticated cyber crime tools used to breach organisations' IT networks were readily available on the Dark Web was proved correct when research carried out by Flashpoint found as many as 35,000 Remote Desktop Protocols (RDPs) on the Dark Web that allowed their owners to connect to computers running Microsoft Terminal Services.
These RDPs were being sold on the Dark Web marketplace Ultimate Anonymity Services and could be used to gain access to remote access servers belonging to hundreds of organisations located all across the world. Flashpoint said that by utilising fraudulently obtained RDP access, hackers have been successful in breaching several hospitality, retail, and online payment services. Compromised RPD servers not only provide direct access to victim networks but can also be used as instruments of anonymity.
A recent study conducted by Dr. Mike McGuire, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Surrey and underwritten by security research firm Bromium has found that as many as four out of then cyber criminals operating in Dark Web marketplaces are selling targeted hacking services aimed at FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies.
Even though law enforcement authorities in the United States, in Europe and in other regions have been able to shut down a number of large Dark Web marketplaces over the past couple of years, hackers are quick in setting up new marketplaces and carrying out anonymous transactions, so much so that there has been a 20 percent rise in the number of dark net listings with a direct potential to harm enterprises since 2016.
A large number of cyber criminals, who intend to profit from security weaknesses in enterprise servers holding vast amounts of data, purchase off-the-shelf hacking tools and malware to save themselves from the arduous task of developing malicious codes on their own. These novice hackers frequent Dark Web marketplaces to search for the most effective hacking tools at affordable prices.