The Dark Web is known to have been the source of most of the major security breaches of the past few years.
Any place where a large number of the most gifted programmers in the world, especially those with anarchistic beliefs, can meet regularly is bound to produce those sorts of results.
New reports are now showing that malware-as-service is becoming one of the fastest growing industries on the Dark Web.
Early last year, McAfee Security released a report detailing the sources of potential threats of the future.
In a year where an estimate 200+ new malware programs were released every minute, 2013 saw the realization of the growing threat of malware attacks from the Dark Web.
These have come in a variety of forms, with some running vicious keyloggers, aimed at unearthing passwords as well as bank details, and other more benign ones using apportion of CPU usage for bitcoin mining.
However, since then attacks have become much more complex and efficient.
It is somewhat strange to see how much the industry has grown, especially when you look at reports from the FBI, which state that the organized community behind the rise of malware services could be as few as 200 people.
However, it must be remembered that while these may be controlling the production of malware, they are selling it in an over-the-counter style of Dark Web Markets to criminal groups who then use it for their own gains.
These services reportedly include the likes of crypto-ransomware software, as well as Distributive Denial of Service (DDoS) attack capabilities.
While the FBI’s report may be correct, the actual number of people writing and selling malware on the Dark Web is vastly greater than 200 people.
In Russia alone, the malware creation industry has an estimated worth of over $2 billion.
However, for now, the Russian authorities are willing to turn a blind eye to the antics of the hackers involved, as very few Russian organizations have been targeted.
Even though cyber-security is growing to deal with the new threats from the Dark Web, the reality is that the threats are constantly evolving as well.
An underground arms race is happening around us as experts on both sides try to outsmart each other.
One particular new development is spear-phishing.
Phishing has always been the basic form of security breach; it’s effective because it attacks the weakest link in the system, the human one.
However, spear-phishing takes this a step further and so instead of targeting all individuals in the hope of catching one or two, it targets specific individuals.
By doing this, those who are believed to be the most susceptible to phishing attacks, for example the technophobe, who never updates his antivirus, can become the focus of a very convincing attack.
So the war rages on, however, it can be definitively said that malware has taken a huge leap forward thanks to the over-the-counter services available on the Dark Web.