Reputation on the ‘Dark Web’


Online criminals and hackers cement their reputations on discussion forums and Internet Relay Chats (IRCs), where they can display technical knowledge and market their skills, according to a new study.

Criminologist at the University of Montreal, studied interactions between potential customers and “botmasters,” individuals who use their technical skills to take over and control personal, business and governmental computers, on online markets, chats and forums.

“Botmasters” offer to use computer worms and software to to remotely control vast networks of personal computers to “send large amounts of spam, attack web servers or steal financial data – all for a fee,” according to the study.

The Crime Report yesterday reported on illegal markets on the “Dark Web.” Potential customers for professional hackers seek them out on “Dark Web” forums, where even those with few technical skills can vet experienced hackers.

“There, newcomers (known as n00bs) are able to ask technical questions to more experienced criminals who may help them or mock them for their lack of skills,” researchers wrote.

The responses — both those that are helpful and mocking — are essentially sales pitches, in which hackers give customers and their competitors a sense of the quality of their skills.

Beyond customer interaction, online criminal markets are increasingly adopting classification systems similar to those on traditional online marketplaces (such as

“To enhance the security of the markets, some administrators have decided to award official positions to some of the participants. The profiles of these individuals then include their official title such as verified vendor or verified seller and indicate that some level of vetting was done on that particular participant,” researchers wrote.

The full study is available for purchase HERE.

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