Kaspersky research finds cybercriminals sell access to companies for $2,000 on the dark web
“How much does access to corporate infrastructure cost?” report analyzed nearly 200 dark web posts
Woburn, MA – June 15, 2022 – Today Kaspersky released a report, “How much does access to corporate infrastructure cost?” which resulted from an analysis of nearly 200 posts on the dark web selling access to corporate networks. The research found the cost for access to an enterprise’s systems typically ranges between $2,000 and $4,000 – a modest price compared to the tens of millions in profits that can be enjoyed by ransomware operators.
Kaspersky’s research revealed a high demand on the dark web for both data obtained through a previous attack, as well as for the data and services necessary to organize a new one. Once an attacker gains access to the organization’s infrastructure, they can sell that access to other advanced cybercriminals, such as ransomware operators. Such attacks result in significant financial and reputational losses to the targeted organization and may even cause a suspension of work and disruption to business processes. SMBs and enterprises are both targeted by these attacks.
The researchers analyzed nearly 200 posts on the dark web offering to sell information for initial access to companies’ networks, intending to define the main types of corporate data sold, as well as which criteria cybercriminals use to evaluate the price for an organization’s data. Most posts (75%) were selling RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) access. RDP provides access to a desktop or application hosted remotely, then allows cybercriminals to connect, access, and control data and resources via a remote host as if a company’s employees were controlling the data locally.
The prices for the initial access vary greatly from a couple of hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands. Unsurprisingly, the key determinant for the high prices of the analyzed offers is the potential victim’s revenue, with higher sale prices for access to companies with higher revenues. The prices might also differ depending on the company’s industry and operating region.
The correlation between the price of network access data and a company's revenue
Access to large business infrastructures usually costs between $2,000 and $4,000. But there is no upper limit to the cost. Data belonging to one company with revenues of $465 million is for sale for $50,000.
An example of a sale offer on data for remote access to five companies in one network for $50,000
One of the most important components of the initial access price is the amount of money the buyer can potentially earn from an attack using that access. Ransomware operators are ready to pay thousands, or even tens of thousands, for the opportunity to infiltrate a corporate network. These often cost the targeted corporation millions of dollars. The most prolific actors from the past year have potentially received $5.2 billion in transfers over the last three years.
In addition to encrypting corporate data, cybercriminals also steal it. They may later post some of the stolen data in their blogs – primarily as proof, but also for extra leverage – threatening to publish more unless the company pays them the money they demand within a stipulated timeframe.
“The cybercriminal community has evolved, not only from a technical point of view, but from the standpoint of their organization,” said Sergey Shcherbel, security expert at Kaspersky. “Today ransomware groups look more like real industries with services and products for sale. We constantly monitor darknet forums to detect new trends and tactics of the cybercriminal underground. We’ve observed the increasing market of data required to organize an attack. Gaining visibility of sources across the dark web is essential for companies seeking to enrich their threat intelligence. Timely information about planned attacks, discussions around vulnerabilities, and successful data breaches will help to reduce the attack surface and guide appropriate actions.”
The dark web search introduced within the Kaspersky Threat Intelligence portal provides access to insights from a range of validated sources worldwide, allowing companies to mitigate the impact of cyberattacks and identify potential threats before they become incidents.
On June 21, Yuliya Novikova and Sergey Shcherbel, security experts at Kaspersky, will hold a webinar to shed light on how a company’s data and system information is sold on darknet markets. Register here for free.
The full dark markets for corporate data report is available on Securelist.com.
Kaspersky is a global cybersecurity and digital privacy company founded in 1997. Kaspersky’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into innovative security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialized security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky technologies and we help 240,000 corporate clients protect what matters to them most. Learn more atusa.kaspersky.com.
Sawyer Van Horn