Cyber criminals turn to messaging apps following dark web crackdown

card crime

The recent crackdown on popular dark web markets AlphaBay and Hansa is driving cyber criminals to migrate to messaging apps like Discord, ICQ, Skype, Telegram and Whatsapp, according to a new report.

The study from threat management company IntSights analyzed thousands of black markets, text storage/paste sites, hacking forums, IRC channels, apps and social media pages, and uncovers a steady increase in threat actors inviting cyber crime forum users to join their chat groups.

The company estimates that hundreds of thousands of users of prominent mobile messaging apps may be using them to trade stolen credit cards, account credentials, malware and drugs, as well as exchanging hacking methods and ideas.

"The anonymity promised by dark web networks such as TOR and i2p was the key reason for their popularity among cyber criminals," says Guy Nizan, IntSights CEO and co-founder. "Now that the dark web is no longer safe for hackers and threat actors, they are moving to messaging platforms and brazenly conducting their illicit activities on the same apps that millions use every day."

The research indicates that, where cyber criminal communication once required an individual to have the equipment and knowledge necessary to navigate the dark web, today’s black market is accessible to anybody with a cell phone. This, says IntSights, could lead to a proliferation of low-level cyber crime carried out by amateurs. The report also concludes that the monitoring of online criminal activity will become more challenging as threat actors move from large and centralized black markets and forums to small, closed and distributed networks based on social media groups and messaging apps.

You can find out more and get the full report on the IntSights website.

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