Hacking groups are going all-out to hire new workers

(Image credit: Archive)

The dark web is home to a growing number of job offers relating to cybersecurity and developing, however many of these are said to be treading the line of the law.

A report from Kaspersky analyzed the dark web job market between January 2020 and June 2022, taking note of 155 forums claiming to be advertising jobs.

The study uncovered an alarming spike in March 2020, which Kaspersky says is likely owing to the lockdowns and restrictions imposed by the pandemic, leading many to seek alternative employment.

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Hacking jobs on the rise

Off the roughly 200,000 employment-related ads posted to the forums during the period spanning more than two years, 41% were posted during 2020. The number of ads posted in the first months of 2021 saw a dropoff, but as speculation of global economic recessions began to hot up, ads began to rise again.

Above all else, there was a clear cry out for developers - a job role that accounted for almost two-thirds (61%) of the analyzed ads. Attack specialists and designers were also in demand.

In a bid to attract prospective workers away from legitimate jobs, these potentially illegal roles promised a number of terms to appeal to the modern-day digital nomad, including remote work (45%), full-time employment (34%), and a flexible schedule (33%). The report highlights the significance of remote work in this type of role, because anonymity is a must for cybercriminals. 

Another promise high on the list was a fixed, promptly paid salary. Despite accounting for a fairly low number of ads, the median monthly salary for a reverse engineer was found to be $4,000. Attacks and developers were also promised a median monthly salary of $2,500 and $2,000 respectively.

Many roles were also found to be incentivizing workers with additional compensation, including bonuses and commissions for successful projects.

While it may be easy to focus on these glorified figures and claims, Kaspersky stressed in its report that the risks of dark web employment far outweigh the benefits. Primarily, the legal implications of committing criminal activity. Not to mention the lack of a legally executed contract of employment, which could see workers unpaid or even framed.

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!