Profiling hacking for hire services offered in the underground

Pierluigi Paganini February 18, 2014

Security expert Dancho Danchev profiled hacking for hire services offered in the underground, providing an indication of their prices.

In the past we have already analyzed the diffusion in the underground of hacking for hire services, a term coined to define the sale of hacking services made by cyber criminals for a limited period of time. Surfing in various cyber criminal forums or visiting some hidden services in the DeepWeb it is quite easy to discover forum dedicated to facilitating the matching of supply and demand.

The offer is very articulated, as the models of sale proposed, email hacking, website hacking and DDoS for hire, are just a few examples of the services available in the cyber criminal  ecosystem. In addition to these services has been developing a growing range of DIY tools for hacking, applications that are often sold cheaper and offer an immediate economic return to their authors.

hacking for hire services

The offer of hacking tools for mobile seems to be one of the most interesting trend, it has been observed a rapid growth for tools that allow the Smartphone hacking and to packaging of legitimate application with malware.

The cyber security expert Dancho Danchev profiled a couple of websites proposing hacking for hire services, explaining what is changing in terms of tactics, techniques and procedures.

Both services proposed “a diversified portfolio” of illegal services, CAPTCHA-solving capable brute-forcing tools, custom coded phishing pages as a service type, DIY malware/botnet generating tools and of  course botnet of compromised machines.

Criminals could rent/ acquire all the necessary to arrange a scam or to conduct a cyber attack. According Danchev cyber criminals can easily “monetize their know how through hacking for hire services“, most requested service is the email hacking. Email hacking is an essential phase for every cyber attack, criminals request this kind of service to acquire a deeper knowledge of the target and to arrange further offensives or to gather information for cyber espionage campaigns.

Which are the costs for hacking for hire services?

The price depends on the type of attack, a persistent DDoS attack costs $50 for a single day, $300 for a week, and $1000 for a month. As anticipated, hacking for hire services include the website hacking that is sold for $500, meanwhile email hacking is offered at $200, and $500 for corporate users.

DDoS protection is offered for $35 per a day and $150 for a month. Web site hacking is usually made with public/commercial DIY Web site hacking tools, the availability of large botnets provides to criminals the necessary infrastructure to arrange cyber attacks, outsourcing of the botnet generation process is becoming the primary choice for cyber criminals and their clients. Cyber crooks who sale the service can maximize their earnings, the clients could find in the hacking for hire services the best compromise between costs and efficiency of the offensive.

In November 2013 researcher Joe Stewart of Dell SecureWorks and independent researcher David Shear provided an interesting overview of hacking services and stolen data cost in the black market specifically in this period. The two cyber experts infiltrated 15 different underground forums to collect the pricing information, four of which were Russian forums.

The experts have written the report titled, “The Underground Hacking Economy is Alive and Well , published by Dell, that is the result of the investigation on the online marketplace for stolen data, specific to the economic value of products proposed.

The study provided also the cost of a cyber attack on demand, for example a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS)-for-hire attack that is quoted around $400. In June McAfee study found a DDoS-for-hire service for $2 per hour, and another for $3 per hour, Dell SecureWorks report found DDoS services anywhere from $3- to $5 per hour, $90- to $100 per day, and $400 to $600 a month.

Also Botnets are very cheap, an architecture composed of 1,000 bots go for $20, and 15,000, for $250 enough to arrange any illegal activity. Following the detailed price list.

There are thousands of compromised computers (bots) for sell by bot salesmen. The price per computer typically decreases when they are bought in bulk. The costs for infected computers (bots):

  • 1,000 bots = $20
  • 5,000 bots= $90
  • 10,000 bots = $160
  • 15,000 bots = $250

Hacking website, another of the services profiled by Danchev, was quoted 100$-300$, depending on the reputation of hackers and on the nature of the target.

Security experts like Danchev believe that the sale of hacking service will continue to proliferate, cyber criminals will continue to professionalize services they offer, it’s a market segment in a constant growth. 

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  hacking for hire services, cybercrime)

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