Hacking as a Service, best known as HaaS, has become one of the most used modalities among hackers who are seeking to make their criminal activities much more lucrative. By selling their hacking skills, as well as easy-access tools, instructions, target lists, and even online platforms for performing illegal activities, these cybercriminals have managed to create a new ecosystem in the dark web as a way of boosting their hacking capabilities and opportunities. The risk? More amateurs being openly introduced to hacking activities beyond their current level, allowing them to become more experienced and knowledgeable in the development of cyberattacks. As the level of attacks keep increasing in the dark web, organizations need to rapidly strengthen their information security systems to ensure protection against threats and the reinforcement of the capabilities required to defend and react against them (while assuring the business’ continuity).

In this blog, we will share some of the most popular hacking services that are being currently being sold in the dark web, its major effects, and some alternatives to align your company’s efforts against these cyberattacks.

Phishing as a Service (PaaS): Phishing is the practice through which hackers use their technical knowledge and social engineering skills to create fake company campaigns that look legitimate enough to persuade victims into clicking on them. With HaaS, these malicious campaigns can be easily bought online through “phishing kits” that offer illegal software that can be used to copy the design of real company campaigns and post them on different web servers.

Distributed Denial Service (DDoS): This form of cyberattack allows hackers to shut down online platforms and applications by increasing their traffic flow until the point of saturation, using several devices. With HaaS, users can now easily purchase these attacks through the acquisition of DDoS packages.

Hackers for Hire: For users who are searching for professionals who can offer a more specialized and personalized cyberattack, the dark web has also become the ideal marketplace to find hackers who are willing to sell their expertise at different price ranges. Among the main services offered by these experts include social media/email/phone access, device tracking, website defacement and malware distribution.

The main effect of an increased HaaS pool relies on the rapid increase of the threats that seek to affect an organization’s security system. The rapid growth of the websites and forums in the dark web that are created to trade these criminal services are propelling, more than ever, cyber-attack projects that can range from having small to massive damage to either individuals or enterprises.

As the technology used to perform these cyberattacks continues to become more sophisticated, and more amateurs become involved in these criminal practices, those willing to pay for HaaS will be able to access a wider variety of threats, at a reduced cost.   

To make sure your company’s information security system is prepared to protect and respond against a possible attack, it is important to ensure strategic activities such as establishing proper cyber defense technologies and controls, ensuring systems are currently updated, and educating company users on how to become part of the organization’s lines of defense. Moreover, practices such as ethical hacking and penetration testing should be regularly preformed to mitigate risks and patch any vulnerability that could quickly be exploited by these malicious actors.  

Source: Cybrary, Insights

By: Sara Velásquez, Analyst