Illegal Black Market
According to a study by the RAND Corporation, illegal black market sites used for buying stolen credit cards and performing other fraudulent activities are harming businesses, governments and individuals.
Large corporations such as Target have fallen victim to security breaches, rendering it’s private customer information. Around 40 million credit cards were stolen in the December 2013 attack, and more than 70 million users had their accounts hijacked. A few days later, most of that information made its way to black market sites.
Analyst at RAND, Lilian Ablon, stated that hacking has evolved over the years. She says:
“Hacking used to be an activity that was mainly carried out by individuals working alone, but over the last 15 years the world of hacking has become more organized and reliable. In certain respects, cybercrime can be more lucrative and easier to carry out than the illegal drug trade.”
The use of sophisticated and specialized markets have added to cybercrime evolution. Exploit kits and botnets are just a few technological advancements hackers have comprised to steal and manipulate data. As technology progresses, so does hacker’s capabilities.
RAND’s report adds that highly publicized arrests, such as the Ross Ulbricht and Silk Road ordeal, lead other sites to restrict access into their site. This makes it more difficult for police officials to go in and initiate sting operations. In a sense, hackers on black market sites have to earn their stripes before they are allowed into bigger schemes it would seem.
Researchers at RAND have conducted over two dozen interviews about the cyber-security realm, that include academics, security researchers, news reporters, security vendors and law enforcement. As hard as researches try to predict how black markets will evolve, there is no certainty or pattern to go by.
Black Market’s Effect on Bitcoin
Notoriously involved in bitcoin history, illegal black market Silk Road has sullied up the digital currencies reputation. The site was lead by 29-year-old Ross Ulbricht, who has been accused of money laundering, computer hacking and drug trafficking.
Technological advancements in digital currency has created a desire for hackers and criminals to conquer uncharted territories. The stealing of credit cards for over the past decade have shown that hackers have no intention of slowing.
The sale of stolen credit cards, and now bitcoin, make there way to illegal black market sites, fueling the desire to cheat the system. Bitcoin has been off to a bumpy start as black markets have ruined the way people feel about bitcoin.
Money laundering, drug trafficking and computer hackers have been around long before bitcoin. Bitcoin institutions and individuals will always have to look over their shoulders and take necessary safety measures to stay one step ahead of cyber-criminals.
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