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Security in Context: The BeyondTrust Blog

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Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting critical IT infrastructure in the context of your business.

Black Market For Server Data Is Prevelant And Profitable

Posted December 5, 2011    Peter McCalister

The economy of cyber-crime is all too real—and too enticing. No longer sequestered to dark alleys and seedy bars, data thieves have almost unlimited options to market their ill-gotten wares to potential buyers. What this means to employers and organizations: the temptation to access and “appropriate” sensitive data may be too great for some to resist.

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So just how easy is it for cybercriminals to sell data? Shockingly easy.

Although the sale of stolen information often takes place completely under- ground in secret, closed to the public credit forums, people who want to join these groups can locate them quite easily. Once vetted by forum administrators to ensure they are not from law enforcement, they are invited into the network to market and distribute their wares. According to Sue Walsh at AllSpammedUp.com in July 2009: “The personal information of at least 4 million Britons and a whopping 40 million others, most of whom are Americans, is being bought and sold online. This includes usernames and pass- words, credit card details, bank account numbers and more.”

And individuals need not even proactively seek out to divest an employer of sensitive, valuable data. Today, recruiters actively target individuals with lo- cal or specific data types, going so far as to even create job postings with such criteria as “an established relationship with local banks” as a prerequisite for crime family consideration.

The ease with which individuals can locate black market buyers of data should scare every employer who provides mid- to low-level access to any type of sensitive information. Like some bizarro-world eBay, many of these markets actually have incentive packages. Competing prices, additional services, free trials, money-back guarantees, and terms and conditions are all offered. Prices for data are qualified like any other commodity: data is priced based on the domain, if the account belongs to a real person, and how popular it is. It can depend on the number of followers, how commercial the niche is, and if the data is real or bot-generated. Prices for online banking and payment systems dependent on account verification.

To make matters worse, the cyber-crime black market, which has tradition- ally centered on distributing bank and credit-card details stolen from users around the world, has diversified its business model since 2010, and now sells a much broader range of hacked confidential information, including bank credentials, logins, passwords, fake credit cards, and more.

So, while CSOs struggle to combat an ever-evolving crime organization that morphs and changes in a nanosecond, it may be the guy in the cube next to you misusing privilege seeking to supplement his bank account who could exact the most damage to your database.

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Additional articles

How To Implement The Australian Signals Directorate’s Top 4 Strategies

Posted October 20, 2014    Morey Haber

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), also known as the Defence Signals Directorate, has developed a list of strategies to mitigate targeted cyber intrusions. The recommended strategies were developed through ASD’s extensive experience in operational cyber security, including responding to serious security intrusions and performing vulnerability assessments and penetration testing for Australian government agencies. These recommendations…

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Exploiting MS14-059 because sometimes XSS is fun, sometimes…

Posted October 17, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

This October, Microsoft has provided a security update for System.Web.Mvc.dll which addresses a ‘Security Feature Bypass’. The vulnerability itself is in ASP.NET MVC technology and given its wide adoption we thought we would take a closer look. Referring to the bulletin we can glean a few useful pieces of information: “A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability exists…

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Four Best Practices for Passing Privileged Account Audits

Posted October 16, 2014    Chris Burd

Like most IT organizations, your team may periodically face the “dreaded” task of being audited. Your process for delegating privileged access to desktops, servers, and infrastructure devices is a massive target for the auditor’s microscope. An audit’s findings can have significant implications on technology and business strategy, so it’s critical to make sure you’re prepared…

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