New trends have emerged in the underground world of computer hackers, including an increase in working hours for Russian cybercriminals (they're now available to meet your hacking needs 24/7) and an uptick in hacker self-promotion, with many advertising themselves as "honest, trustworthy, and professional," according to the third annual Dell SecureWorks Underground Hacker Markets Report.
The study, which compiles months of data from teams who tracked hackers on various forums across the world, provides "a small window into the world cybercriminals occupy," researchers said in the report.
The survey reveals that the going rate for hacking into a corporate email account is $500 per mailbox, and only $129 for a private account such as Gmail, Hotmail, or even Facebook.
The credit card market is still "bustling," with a per-card hacking price of $7 for an American MasterCard or Visa — up $3 from last year's figures. Premium cards brought in a higher fee, maxing out at $80 for a Japanese Visa or MasterCard.
Cybercriminals aren't just making bank by breaching accounts, though; they remain focused on the perennial money-spinner, stolen identity. "Documents that can be used to impersonate another individual, especially those with impeccable credit, are worth their weight in gold," noted the report, citing the example of a California-based ID that was available for $90 and included a "scan of a social security card, a driver's license, and a matching utility bill."
ATM skimming remains a lucrative business, especially since many machines have not been upgraded to accept the new, higher-security chip-enabled cards. Nonbank ATM skimming has rocketed by 317 percent since 2014.
The report offers some tips to ward against criminal activity, such as educating employees on how to spot security threats such as the phishing emails that have speared some major companies recently. But "business appears to be booming," the report cautions, "and underground forums continue to thrive."