Tactics changing for new malicious services like Deepfake ransomware and AI bots

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KUALA LUMPUR (June 4): Trust has eroded among criminal interactions, causing a switch to e-commerce platforms and communication using Discord, which both increase user anonymization, according to a report by Tokyo and Texas hedquartered cybersecurity solutions provider Trend Micro Incorporated.

Commenting on the report on cybercriminal operations and patterns for buying and selling goods and services in the underground, Trend Micro Malaysia managing director Goh Chee Hoh  said the report highlights the threat intelligence analysis from global cybercriminal networks that enables the firm to alert, prepare and protect its corporate customers and partners.

"This research helps us inform businesses early about emerging threats, such as Deepfake ransomware, AI bots, Access-as-a-Service and highly targeted SIM-swapping.

“A layered, risk-based response is vital for mitigating the risk posed by these and other increasingly popular threats,” said Goh.

Goh said the report showed that determined efforts by law enforcement appear to be having an impact on the cybercrime underground.

“Several forums have been taken down by global police entities, and remaining forums experience persistent DDoS attacks and log-in problems impacting their usefulness.

“Loss of trust led to the creation of a new site, called DarkNet Trust, which was created to verify vendors’ and increase user anonymity.

“Other underground markets have launched new security measures, such as direct buyer-to-vendor payments, multi-signatures for cryptocurrency transactions, encrypted messaging, and a ban on JavaScript,” said Goh.

He said the report further revealed the changing market trends for cybercrime products and services since 2015.

“Commoditization has driven prices down for many items. For example, crypting services fell from US$1,000 to just US$20 per month, while the price of generic botnets dropped from US$200 to US$5 per day.

“Pricing for other items, including ransomware, Remote Access Trojans (RATs), online account credentials and spam services, remained stable, which indicates continued demand,” he said.

Goh however said Trend Micro Research has seen high demand for other services, such as IoT botnets, with new undetected malware variants selling for as much as US$5,000.

Also popular are fake news and cyber-propaganda services, with voter databases selling for hundreds of dollars, and gaming accounts for games like Fortnite can fetch around Us$1,000 on average, he said.

He said other notable findings include the emergence of markets for:

•       Deepfake services for sextortion or to bypass photo verification requirements on some sites.

•       AI-based gambling bots designed to predict dice roll patterns and crack complex Roblox CAPTCHA.

•       Access-as-a-Service to hacked devices and corporate networks. Prices for Fortune 500 companies can reach up to US$10,000 and some services include access with read and write privileges.

•       Wearable device accounts where access could enable cybercriminals to run warranty scams by requesting replacement devices.

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