An interactive page that shows the different international black markets that trade stolen data, what types of data can be bought and sold, and how much they're worth.

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What Invisible Hand? See What the Cybercriminal Underground Economy Is Like
The days of wondering if an underground economy boosting cybercrime is real are long over. We saw how robust such a market was in Russia in 2012. A similar booming market was also uncovered in China that same year; we revisited it in 2013. We realized that figuring out the truth behind the underground economy relies on glaring nuances—how goods and services are becoming cheaper, how every country/region has distinct underground behaviors, and how underground markets are far from disappearing.

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What Do You Know About the Cybercriminal Underground Economy?

A marketplace for stolen information and malicious services exists, and it’s thriving.

Just how like real-life demand affects the market supply, the cybercriminal underground economy goes through highs and lows, too. This is especially true when massive data breaches against large retailers occur. As in the real world, when the supply goes up, prices go down.

Knowing how closely the underground market adheres to the law of supply and demand isn’t enough though. Understanding how cybercriminals start stealing information then selling this to peers underground is best. The “Cybercriminal Underground Economy Series (CUES)” helps you do just that.

In 2012, we delved deep into the Russian and Chinese underground markets. We learned then that every country/region’s market had distinct characteristics. The Deep Web has also since become an important hub for cybercriminals looking to buy and sell malicious wares without worrying about authorities looking over their shoulders.

Throughout the years, the prices of most goods and services have been dropping. Toolkits, for one, have become more available and way cheaper; some even come free of charge. This shows just how much underground markets have grown.

We’ve kept tabs on major developments in the cybercriminal underground in an effort to stay true to our mission—to make the world safe for the exchange of digital information. This year, we plan to further widen what the industry knows of the underground markets in Russia, China, Brazil, and the Deep Web.

For more in-depth information on the biggest cybercriminal underground markets today, download the full research papers here.