With the second largest GDP in the world, the Chinese economy is undoubtedly booming. These days, however, China does not only lead in economic performance, it’s also becoming a major player in the underground market for cybercrime products and services.
For a time, Russia has been top-of-mind as one of the countries with the most active cybercriminal underground markets. China now joins it. Once only targeting online and mobile gamers, the Chinese underground has expanded, and now offers products and services that are at par with those offered in other underground markets.
“The Chinese underground market offers many kinds of goods. Sellers normally post ads with pretty pictures and descriptions to entice buyers. Everything you can possibly need is readily available,” says senior security researcher Lion Gu.
For US$73.22, for example, cybcercriminals can hire DDoS attack services to render target sites inaccessible for certain time periods. For US$244.05, they can make use of detection evasion services to keep their malware invisible to antivirus solutions.
Cybercrime products also thrive in the Chinese underground. A compromised Windows 2003 host can sell for less than a dollar at US$0.49, phishing kits for US$162.70, and even email accounts for US$162.70. Other popular underground products include remote access tools (RATs) and webshell packages for blackhat SEO purposes.Previously observed products in other countries’ underground markets also resonate in the Chinese underground. This shows that global cybercrime now works within a regular market model where cybercriminals actively share information and trade tools. Organized regional cybercrime rings now exist and are out to get digital information.
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