Most people have only a very general idea of what the Dark Web is. They know you can buy things illegally there, such as guns, drugs, and stolen software. They also know that most stolen data end up dumped there. Like the 3 billion Yahoo user accounts that sat online for a few years earlier this decade.

computer hacker

What most do not know is that the Dark Web is also a focal point for criminals and hackers to discuss methods of illegal activities. You can think of it as a Reddit for all things illegal or of dubious morality. Underground discussion forums exist for talking about such things just as they do for legitimate purposes. Like Star Wars movie discussions or how to plan the perfect Disney vacation. 

A recent survey compiled more than 3.9 million posts on underground malware and hacker forums between May 2018 and May 2019. Just to see what the most chatter was about. This helps security experts, software companies, and corporate IT professionals prepare for what might be coming next in the form of attacks on organizations, companies, individuals, and the government.

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Ransomware tops the list

The data compiled by the Isikt Group found ransomware at the top of the charts in the number of posts and discussions, followed by Crypters and Trojans.

Seeing ransomware at the top of the charts is worrisome to IT security professionals. Ransomware was very popular a few years ago targeting individuals. But was not nearly as successful as hackers thought it would be. This was largely due to its inability to spur individuals to pay out the ransom in Bitcoin. Either they didn’t know how to technically achieve this or they just were not interested. Thanks to cloud technology, especially for smartphones like Android and iPhone. Most people’s information they consider most important – like family photos and videos – is stored in a cloud environment. That can’t be accessed from anywhere and cannot be held for ransom.

Phishing Malware Ransomware

Beyond the top three, the rest of the top 10 most discussed malware categories were: WebShell, Remote Access Trojan, Adware, Computer virus, FUD crypter, Exploit Kit, and Rootkit. 

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Belief over Security Professions:

Security professionals believe ransomware is making a comeback with schemers intent on attacking small-to-medium-sized businesses instead of individuals. The rationale is that these SMBs will not have the most up to date or advanced anti-malware systems in place such as Bitdefender because of their budget limitations and belief that they are not in danger of being hacked in the first place.

The second rationale is that SMBs and businesses, in general, are much more likely to be storing important information. Such as customer’s personal data, employees’ personal data, and proprietary information on their servers. This would suggest they are much more willing to consider paying a ransom to regain access to important. Perhaps invaluable business files than an individual would do on a phone, tablet, laptop, or PC.

If there are advancements coming in business-targeted ransomware. Employees in IT professional well trained in the best practices to avoid falling victim in the future.


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