Have you ever wondered where some hackers get the tools to attack and compromised other computers and networks over the Internet? Well, as it turns out, there is a massive market where hackers are turning large profits to sell off zero-day exploits, which are known as a vulnerability or a hole in software known to others.
With the nearly endless vat of computers connected to the Internet, which all run some form of software that may have known security holes, hackers are inclined to take advantage of those zero-day vulnerabilities actively. Zero-day exploits have long been known to be a major profit area for hackers and there is a massive underground society devoted to marketing and selling off these zero-day exploit packages. All in all, hackers are motivated to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars in active campaigns to sell off zero-day exploits.
Through what is known as the Dark Web, or a major underground cyber society consisting of hackers and wannabe hackers, therein lies endless malicious code and malware packages. Malware and software bugs are sold over the Dark Web for up to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. While the selling of malware and zero-day exploits over the Dark Web isn't anything to take lightly, it is the actions that hackers have taken upon obtaining the zero-day exploit tools necessary to attack or compromise other systems.
Zero-day exploits and bugs are incredibly valued assets due to the high stakes for victims. Commonly known bugs within popularized Windows software applications are primary targets for zero-day exploits or those armed with modern zero-day exploit tools. Moreover, sophisticated malware or botnets, such as Sandworm or Stuxnet, have been formed to attack foreign entities as a result of malware sold through the Dark Web. Other forms of malware that may have been propagated through the Dark Web include Ransomware, such as the threats Kovter Ransomware, Cerber 4.0 Ransomware, and CrytoLocker Ransomware.
Sensitive data stored on corporate networks, credit card information harbored on hotel chain networks, and even social security data on US government servers are all high profile targets that have succumb to various exploits and vulnerabilities in the past. Hackers and groups that are actively in the market for zero-day exploits are extremely diverse and hardly ever discriminate as to what type of entity that they want to attack next. There are endless methods for exploitation, and many of the zero-day exploits offer their secret code in exchange for Bitcoins, which is a well-known cryptocurrency and payment system that can easily be hidden as to avoid raising any red flags with authorities. Use of Bitcoin for the transfer of large sums of money throughout the Dark Web is a conduit for hackers to get paid or pay for various items, including zero-day exploits.
The potentially illegal and unethical practices on the Dark Web are a gateway for conducting hacker business that grants them monumental profits. Accessing the Dark Web requires a Tor browser and a thorough knowledge of how the underground network works. Additionally, those who choose to poke around the Dark Web should know that a lot of the content is NSFW and could lead to serious legal consequences if activities on the Dark Web are exposed to the proper authorities. However, hackers are willing to take risks involved which grant them handsome paydays in the sale of zero-day exploits and other malware.