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Hacker Econony

The hacker economy has emerged as a multi-billion dollar criminal industry formed by individual and organized hacking networks. Hackers use a variety of methods to extort, steal, and defraud targeted institutions as well as individuals, including:

Direct ransomware - threat attackers utilize ransomware to encrypt systems and data. They hold the ability to unlock the systems as hostage for ransom, usually in the form of relatively untraceable cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.

Supply-chain ransom - when a threat actor has stolen data or gained privileged access to threaten the disclosure as ransom against affected parties.

Selling malware - a B2B/B2C solution selling malware to other hackers. This is growing as a highly developed and advanced black market operation. Learn more about commonly used techniques on MITRE ATT&CK's malware page.

Selling access - a B2B/B2C solution selling credentials to other hackers. Learn more about purchasing technical data from MITRE ATT&CK.

Selling credit card numbers or personally identifiable information (PII) - these are used to set up fraudulent personas for committing crime or espionage.

Automated phishing software-as-a-service - developed and sold on the darkweb to improve the efficiency of phishing operations.

Infiltrating financial accounts - using details from compromised financial accounts to appropriate funds for purchasing stocks. This is often done to raise the price of a stock and sell them for profit.

Cryptojacking - malware is inserted on a victim's system(s) to surreptitiously lend computational processing to a crypto-mining operation.

Botnet/DDOS for hire - a B2B/B2C SaaS operation where systems that have been compromised by hackers called ‘bot herders’ are rented out as a service to other hackers to be used for nefarious purposes. Learn more about botnet techniques on botnet techniques from MITRE ATT&CK.

The hacker economy is more than just the hackers trying to attack and infiltrate sites and systems. It’s also the SaaS and B2B market that has grown to support hacking operations due to the high return on investment.

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