Published: November 16, 2021 on our newsletter Security Fraud News & Alerts Newsletter.
At a time when it seems anything and everything is for sale online, researchers found stolen network access has a price tag too. IntSights released a study on dark web sales of network access. They found 37% of buyers located in North America were willing to spend up to $9,640 for that access. Many experts believe the pandemic rush to remote work opened a goldmine of cybercrimes, with the hot commodity now stolen access to business networks.
Who’s Selling, What’s Being Sold
IntSights focused on underground arenas that were English and Russian language-speaking sites offering a higher level of sophistication than most others. It’s a data-palooza on the dark web where they sell everything from malware and personal data to banking and payment card numbers and details, and much more. Some bad actors choose to post hijacked data for free, no strings attached.
Some hackers compromise a network but can’t exfiltrate data to sell. In these cases, selling network access to the highest bidder among ransomware groups is the way they profit. It’s also the way more ransomware attacks take place. The study found the highest amount paid for network access was for an Asian telecommunications company with revenues exceeding $1 billion. The purchase price – $95,000.
Protecting A Business Network
Protecting systems against cybercrime is still a mystery for some organizations, especially those smaller in size. When data isn’t properly protected, it’s an expensive prospect when it ends up in the wrong hands. For 60% of small-to-medium-sized businesses, a data hack or breach means they close their doors altogether, usually within six months of an attack. With this in mind, organizations of all kinds can provide better protection for their data, including preventing outside access to their networks.
Assembling a security team to monitor online activity is recommended. If the team finds their network access has been compromised by something other than ransomware, they can assess the damage and act quickly. Cyberthieves selling the stolen network access need time to post it for sale and wait for the highest bidder. Monitoring for unusual activity and intruders, even if no damage has been done, can help prevent cyber-attacks before they happen.
With email phishing still the number one way malware is delivered, staff who have ongoing anti-phishing training can be invaluable to an organization’s security.
Use cybersecurity products to bolster a network’s perimeter. These solutions give the network and other vulnerabilities protection from intruders wanting to get inside, taking away their ability to do so.
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