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KELA Predictions 2020: The Dark Web Comes of Age

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual series exclusive.

By Raveed Laeb, Product Manager, KELA Group

The Dark Web Comes of Age

The dark web will continue to see a rise in criminal operations that are adopting more "professional" business models and practices in 2020. The evolving ecosystem will make it easier for cybercriminals to operate with new monetization channels appearing, and more stable and profitable "businesses" emerging.

Scope of Threats Expands with the Rise of the Darknet "Servitization" Trend

2019 saw a major increase in the trend of cybercrime "servitization"- cybercriminals buying and selling services rather than goods in the cybercrime financial ecosystem. This ongoing trend will continue to rise in 2020, as more cybercriminals will use commodity malware (malware-as-a-service) that's proliferated across the dark web this year. While this trend is on the rise, the level of skills required to deploy these tools has declined, thus expanding the scope and number of threats to companies.

The Emergence of New Monetization Channels

In the past three years, the underground economy experienced a shift in how cybercriminals monetize their end products - from concentrating efforts on manual transactions and listings in markets, to focusing on sales of credentials, network access and sophisticated fraud methods. Instead of selling services or data listings on an individual basis, threat actors in 2020 will put more effort into building lasting business-like operations by investing more in branding, customer support and intuitive user interfaces. Drawing inspiration from legitimate online businesses, cybercriminals use automation to help move their stock off virtual shelves and collect data to better monetize their deliverables, further developing the level of sophistication of the underground marketplace.

Threat actors will continue to grow enterprise-style businesses that evolve just like their legitimate counterparts. The days of cybercriminals doing the dirty work themselves from start to finish may well be nearing an end. In 2020, cybercriminals will be more polished and professional - meaning the rest of us will need to fight back even more to keep ourselves protected.


About the Author

Raveed Laeb, Product Manager, KELA Group

Raveed Laeb 

Leveraging over 11 years of expertise in intelligence collection, Raveed Laeb is responsible for leading the product team and intelligence collection platform at KELA. Raveed has an in-depth knowledge on threat actors, specializing in the cybercrime financial ecosystem. Raveed's experiences are based on over a decade of intelligence work in a variety of units, from tactical intelligence analysis to strategic scopes. He is a Captain (retired) in an elite IDF intelligence unit.

Published Monday, December 23, 2019 7:29 AM by David Marshall
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