The dark web is notorious for its illicit activities, which has evolved into a bustling marketplace for various illegal purposes. It serves as a hub for cybercriminals, offering opportunities for stolen data transactions, hacking services, and collaborations in illegal activities. Job seekers can find diverse postings for roles related to cybercrime, ranging from developers to pen testers and specialised positions. As we delve into the dark web job market, I shed light on the recruitment process, motivations, costs and risks involved.
Dark web forums and marketplaces attract individuals interested by the world of cybercrime, providing them with opportunities to engage in stolen data transactions, hacking services, and collaborations for illegal activities.
The job postings on the dark web cover malware development, phishing tools, website hacking, email hacking, encryption cracking, and web scraping. Each category seeks individuals with specialised skills to carry out these illegal activities. Whether it is the creation of malware, development of phishing campaigns, exploitation of vulnerabilities in websites and emails, or the decryption of encrypted data, there is a demand for skilled individuals who can execute these tasks with precision and expertise.
Within the dark web, job seekers can come across many postings for diverse roles related to cybercrime. These positions encompass a broad spectrum, including developers, penetration testers, and other specialised positions. The recruitment process on the dark web often involves:
The motivations for seeking employment on the dark web can vary greatly. For some, the attraction of easy money proves irresistible, especially compared to the set financial rewards and pay scales offered by commercial and ethical positions
Researchers at Comparitech, examined over 100 listings from 12 different hacking websites. The actual prices are negotiated based on the time, scope, complexity and level of risk. Where they were able to find the average prices of these illicit services (prices have been converted from BTC to USD).
All of the services required payment up front, with some but not all of the hacking service websites promised a refund for unsuccessful jobs. Most hacking services set realistic expectations in that they only take jobs they reasonably believe they can accomplish. One website stated, “in about 5-7% of cases, hacking is impossible.” Many hackers would say if they can complete jobs within 24 hours, but more advanced jobs might take days or weeks. These hacking service websites instruct prospective customers to get in contact by encrypted email or secure chat app.
As society faces challenges posed by cybercrime, efforts to strengthen cybersecurity, enforce legislation, and educate individuals about the risks and consequences of participating in illegal activities on the dark web are become increasingly vital.