You can buy access to a company's data on the Dark Web for less than a Macbook

ID theft
(Image credit: Future)

Cybercriminals looking to gain access to a company’s endpoints and infrastructure can do that for the price of a Macbook, and sometimes even less, a new report has found.

Kaspersky analyzed some 200 posts on the dark web, advertising stolen data, or stolen access to companies of all shapes and sizes, and found that on average, crooks pay an average of $2,000 - $4,000 to access the systems of large corporations, which the researchers believe is a solid investment given the potential for major ROI. 

After all, ransomware operators often demand payments in the millions.

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Out of the 200 posts analyzed, most of the time crooks would advertise remote desktop access (75%), as it's not a virus, but provides access to a desktop or application that’s hosted remotely, and allows criminals to connect, access, and control various data in the same manner as employees physically present on the premises.

Purchasing access

Besides data stolen in attacks, crooks are also interested in data needed to mount such an attack. Once an attacker makes his way into the target infrastructure, they’re able to sell that access to third parties, such as ransomware operators. 

While the average cost is anywhere between $2,000 and $4,000, the overall prices vary greatly, from a few hundred dollars, upwards, The potential victim’s revenue is the number one determinant for the cost of access, the researchers concluded.

"The cybercriminal community has evolved, not only from a technical point of view, but from the standpoint of their organisation," noted Sergey Shcherbel, security expert at Kaspersky. 

"Today ransomware groups look more like real industries with services and products for sale. Gaining the visibility of sources across the dark web is essential for companies seeking to enrich their threat intelligence. Timely information about planned attacks, discussions around vulnerabilities, and successful data breaches will help to reduce the attack surface and lead appropriate actions."

Ransomware attacks have simply exploded last year. Recent figures from SonicWall recorded more than 600 million ransomware attacks took place across the world in 2021, representing an increase of 105% compared to the year before. Compared to 2019, the figures are even worse, showing a rise of 232%.

“Cyberattacks become more attractive and potentially more disastrous as dependence on information technology increases,” said SonicWall President and CEO Bill Conner.

“Securing information in a boundless world is a near-impossible and thankless job, especially as the boundaries of organizations are ever-expanding to limitless endpoints and networks.”

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.