While the final price for a cybercriminal’s services is usually negotiated, personal attacks are the most expensive, explains Comparitech.
The Dark Web is home to an assortment of illegal and criminal products and services for sale. And that certainly encompasses the area of cybercrime. From website hacking to DDoS attacks, custom malware and grade modification, you can buy any of these services from a hacker. But how much do these types of items cost? A blog post published on Tuesday by consumer website Comparitech examines the types of hacking services available on the Dark Web and assesses their prices.
SEE: The Dark Web: A Guide for Professionals (Free PDF) (TechRepublic)
To conduct its analysis, researchers at Comparitech looked at over 100 lists of 12 different hacking services. Actual prices for many services are negotiated based on time, scope, complexity and level of risk, according to Paul Bischoff, author of the article. But Comparitech was still able to find average prices for many of these illegal services. Selling prices are normally listed in bitcoin, which Comparitech converted to US dollars for their report.
The most expensive item on the menu was a personal attack, usually libel, legal sabotage, or financial disruption. Changing school grades was the next most expensive service. All hackers require payment in advance, although some promise a refund if the hack fails.
Most hackers for hire will only take a job if they believe they can do it. A group found by Comparitech even states on its website: “In about 5-7% of cases, hacking is impossible. Most hackers say they can complete the job within 24 hours, although more advanced hacks can take days or weeks.
Hackers specializing in personal attacks sell their services for an average of $ 551. A personal attack can include financial sabotage, legal trouble, or public defamation. One tactic touted by a hacker is to portray the victim as a buyer of child pornography. A few hackers offer services such as “scammer’s revenge” or “fraud tracking” in which they will attack a scammer.
Students who want a higher grade can actually pay someone on average $ 526 to hack a school system and change their grades. Available for primary schools and universities, it is one of the most common hacking services and one of the most expensive. On the sidelines, some hackers also say they can steal future exam answers.
Website hacking costs an average of $ 394 and includes attacks on websites and other services hosted online. A group cited by Comparitech said it can access an underlying web server or a website’s admin panel. Another group claimed it could steal databases and administrative credentials.
Computer and telephone hacking
A computer and phone hacking service costs an average of $ 343. In this type of attack, the hacker breaks into the victim’s PC or phone to steal data or deploy malware. The operating system doesn’t seem to matter as they boast that they can access Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone.
Social media account hacking
Hacking a social media account costs an average of $ 230. In this service, the hacker will spy on or hijack accounts from platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Skype, Telegram, TikTok, Snapchat and Reddit. Malicious activity depends on the service. Criminals who hack into a victim’s Facebook or Twitter account often steal the credentials to give the buyer full access to the account. Those using a WhatsApp account are likely to spy on messages or take screenshots.
Email hacking sells for an average of $ 241. In this activity, the hacker steals the victim’s email password, then gives that password to the buyer or breaks into the account to access the data. In some cases, the criminal may set up an email forwarding process to obtain a copy of all the victim’s emails.
Hackers who offer distributed denial of service attacks charge an average of $ 26 per hour, although prices vary depending on the duration and bandwidth of the attack. Some hackers charge by the hour or even the month to maintain an attack for as long as the buyer wants.
Beyond paid consumer services, Comparitech said it found other more specialized services.
Some hackers break into a hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine database to steal the data or add their own name to the database. Others will change search engine results to increase or decrease a site’s ranking. Some will delete a post that the buyer has put on a social network. And some hackers will audit a website’s security, apparently to show the owner where vulnerabilities exist.