News & Analysis

Hire a Hacker – Contractual hacking on a rise in India

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Back in May, Google’s Threat Analysis Group came up with a report that Hack-for-hire operations were on an increase and a lot of agencies based in countries like India, Iran and China etc. are being used to run various hacking-related scams like snooping, phishing, and even data theft.

Even though contractual hacking has been there for a long time, however, over time it has become highly organized and the attacks have become extremely sophisticated. The recent case of Delhi based company BellTrox InfoTech, which had been reportedly snooping on prominent people like investors, politicians, lawyers, and environmental groups across the globe for seven years, confirms TAG’s report.

While BellTrox that was one of the largest Hacker-for-hire is exposed, countless hackers are working on an individual level and are being hired to complete tasks ranging from hacking into email ids or social media accounts to stealing users, partners or client databases of various service providers. The fact that they operate on an individual basis makes it more difficult to trace them.

For hackers as well, these quick tasks turn into bountiful as reporting a bug to a company or an organization may not reap required results or appreciation. Selling the vulnerability on the dark web, however, helps them make quick money. The required skill set and tools are easily available on the dark web, hackers also get their “clients” from the dark underbelly of the internet.

A task like getting access to social media accounts can fetch individuals anywhere between Rs. 2,000 and can go all the way up to $500 or more depending on the profile of the account holder. Phishing attacks are the goto solution for most hackers in such cases, however, in case it fails they attack the close associates of the target to get confidential information and data of the target.

Since black hat hacking is closely linked with the ethical or white-hat hacking, a LiveMint report suspects that even White Hat or Ethical hackers are also involved in such practices for money since they know how to remove their traces from the internet. With the Indian digital economy showing positive growth signs, both the aspects of hacking will surely get a lot of opportunities soon.

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