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July 27, 2017

Feds Shut Down Two Major 'Dark Net' Cybercrime Hubs

Last week federal agents seized AlphaBay and Hansa — two major “dark net” marketplaces where cybercriminals can buy and sell malware (in addition to just about every other illegal product you can think of). 

What is the dark net? First, understand that right now you are using the “clearnet” or the public Internet where pages are publicly indexed by Google and users can be can be identified and tracked by their IP addresses. Using the clearnet is a bit like swimming at the beach. There is a much different version of the Web lurking just beneath the surface, hidden from plain view. In fact, the Internet actually contains about 500 times the amount of content than what you see on Google.  

Most of this content is hidden in the “deep Web,” which is basically anything on the Internet that a search engine cannot discover. And within this deep Web, there is something called the “dark net,” which is a small part of the deep Web that is purposely kept hidden and inaccessible over browsers like Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

From a law enforcement perspective, the dark net presents a real challenge since it is completely anonymous. And recently, the Tor Project has been working on making its dark net services even harder to discover.

As such, the dark net is a safe haven for criminals who flock to websites like AlphaBay and Hansa, or its predecessor Silk Road 2. Cybercriminals can go to these websites and by pre-made malware kits for very low prices.

Some of these malware kits are so advanced that they come with actual customer service departments.

In the short term, the federal seizures of AlphaBay and Hansa can be viewed as a victory in the ongoing war against cybercrime. Federal agents, after all, have gained a great deal of critical intelligence that they can use to take down more websites in the future.

In the long term, though, these two takedowns will ultimately mean very little. Another new market will form where cybercriminals can go to purchase tools like ransomware.

Now that you have a sense of just how easy it is for criminals to purchase malware, it should put cybersecurity in a different light. As long as dark net marketplaces continue to exist, cybercriminals will have no trouble exchanging the tools they need to wreak havoc on corporate networks. And this is bad for business.

To learn more about how a managed services provider (MSP) like Apex Technology Services can help your organization stay safe during this unpredictable time, click here.

A new breed of hacktrepeneurs has awoken and they have little to fear and everything to gain by infecting as many companies as possible and extorting money from them. Apex Technology Services stands ready to protect your company regardless of whether it’s located in New York CityWhite Plains, New York; Connecticut; Australia; Europe; or anywhere else. Our full suite of cybersecurity and IT support services is at your disposal, enabling you to spend less time worrying about and more time growing your business.

To ensure your security, consider one of our most popular services — Auditing & Documentationwhich pinpoints vulnerabilities in your infrastructure, process flow and internal security procedures.

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