The Malware Industry Could Be Worth $26 Billion in 2026!
In 2009, while the United States was trying to abort Iran's nuclear project, the US National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency teamed up with Mossad to produce the first cyber weapon; the "Stuxnet worm", which was intended to penetrate the security sensors in an Iranian uranium enrichment facility, and then give orders to the centrifuge at that facility that would disable these devices and stop them from working.
The worm succeeded in performing its tasks and infected the Iranian project, and the matter was known to the press in 2010 and it made a big noise; This worm is the first electronic weapon used to disable remote devices.
Although the worm was designed to infect Iran's nuclear devices, the worm quickly spread to thousands of devices around the world, and damaged many of them as well as factory machines in many countries!
This was because the worm was put up for sale in the dark web marketplaces, which facilitated its access to many unknown people and institutions, due to the disappearance of the identity of the seller and buyer in such existing platforms.
This made the Stuxnet worm more important, not only because it was the first electronic weapon, but also the main cause of the emergence of malware and virus markets around the world.
Growing and Booming Malware Sales Market
In a study prepared by “Cyber News” on the reason for the increase in cyber-attacks and crimes around the world, and the increase in what is known as cyber war, the platform sees that one of the main factors behind this is the low cost of malware, such as viruses and worms, its spread in the dark internet and its ease of access and use.
The platform visited 10 markets through which it was able to discover the nature of these markets, what they sell, and the prices of their products.
The study also examined how to use such malware to explore how easy it is to deal with such programs.
One of these platforms, which is called “the largest list of links in the world for hacking and digital security software”, provided a huge directory containing many sites and markets that provide piracy services and markets for selling malware to users, and the research revealed that most of these platforms are run by veterans in the field of piracy from Eastern Europe.
The reason that most of the developers of this malware are from Eastern Europe is that these countries do not have legislation criminalizing cybercrime; This creates an environment suitable for the growth of such an industry and the flourishing of the markets for selling malware, from which those with technical skills gain great profits, as well as benefit the mafia and criminals, as well as government institutions and intelligence around the world.
Cheap high quality and easy to use
The study states that what it found by digging into these markets exceeded its expectations.
These platforms have provided a lot of products available, which can be used by everyone.
Acquiring and using this software does not require the buyer to be a programmer or even have any technical knowledge, as all an individual might need is Bitcoin to have this software in his possession, and then use it.
As for the prices, it was not surprising.
It was cheap and easy to get malware, and along with completely free software—with potential risk to the buyer—these markets offered high-quality, advanced software for only about $50, with after-sales technical support and customer service.
Through this customer service, training courses are provided to buyers on how to use malware and hacking tools, as well as periodic and free updates that include developing the capabilities of these programs and making them work more practically.
These software providers also discover and fix bugs and problems in their tools, and provide these upgrades for free or at low prices.
Various types of malware are available in these markets, from data theft software – the most common in these markets – used to steal passwords, internet browser logs, and history, to credit card data, chat sessions, photos, and videos.
It also offers ransomware and a "Trojan" that allows the user to control the victim's operating system including running and installing programs, and control the camera to get real-time images and videos that enable the hacker to see everything the victim is doing in real-time.
As well as the mic for recording ambient sounds, but this software is more expensive, with prices ranging between 800 and 1000 dollars.
The most expensive robots ever - priced at $2,500 - are custom-designed.
These bots perform many tasks on behalf of the user. The user does not need to follow and spy on the victim himself or wait for the opportunity to steal one of the passwords of the victim's accounts; The robot does this according to what the user charges it.
In a Privacy Affairs report on malware prices on the dark web, the report showed that malware sells for an average of $70, but the quality is poor.
It also has a low success rate, while software with an average price of $900 has a high success rate (about 70%).
Become a cybercriminal with the click of a button
In addition to the courses offered by malware marketplaces to train non-professional “mischievous hackers” in its use, it has become possible to carry out “Denial-of-Service-attacks” (DDOS), which enables anyone to easily attack websites and stop them by working by flooding them with requests More than she can handle, and this leads to the downfall of her system and its failure to work.
For example, in this type of service, the service provider provides a tool to flood the website to be closed with tens of thousands of requests per second, which the site's servers cannot tolerate and leads to its downfall.
The Privacy Affairs report states that the service provider receives $10 per hour of attacks, $200 per day, and $400 per week.
While these platforms offer month-long attacks against heavily protected sites for $800, abusers easily become criminals without even receiving training in the use of any hacking methods or cyber-attacks.
In addition to the malware markets and DDOS attacks, the dark web platforms have markets selling stolen and hacked data - as mentioned - such as personal financial data, personal documents, and passwords, as well as document fraud and counterfeit money services, which makes cybercrime easy...
However, the report cautions that many sellers are themselves, scammers, so buyers may not necessarily get a product at the advertised price, or they may not get a product at all for their money, and buyers themselves become vulnerable to attack or hacking.
In this regard, Thornton Trump - an expert in cyber intelligence - warns that the rapid technical development, and the spread of the Coronavirus, prompted many people to rely on the culture of remote work - from home - which made a mass exodus to the Internet.
Millions of people depend entirely on the Internet, including buying, selling, and completing financial transactions on it, without a minimum culture of digital security, which allows cybercriminals to spread easily and encourages cybercrime.
According to the “Allied Market Research” report, it is expected that the volume of transactions in the malware markets will reach about $24.15 billion by 2026 “at a compound annual growth rate of 28.5% from 2019 to 2026”; In 2018, the global malware market was estimated at $3.27 billion.
This means an increase in the number of cyber-attacks on websites around the world, an increase in personal data theft and breaches, the popularity of the malware market, and the spread of cybercrime culture around the world.
This necessitates that we work to undermine these crimes by learning the rules of digital security, and the rules of safe Internet browsing.