Russian-language dark web marketplace Hydra has pulled in a huge $1.37 billion worth of cryptocurrencies in 2020, up from $9.4 million in 2016. The growth in annual transaction volumes marks a staggering 624% year-over-year jump over a three-year period from 2018 to 2020.
<p><span lang=\"EN-US\">After several high profile shutdowns and server seizures of famous Dark Web marketplaces, cybercriminals are significantly more prudent.</span></p> <p> </p> <p><span lang=\"EN-US\">The publicly or semi-publicly accessible forums and marketplaces – are just a tip of the cybercrime iceberg. Professional cyber mercenaries do not advertise their services, silently selling stolen data to trusted customers from organized crime or governments. They lawfully rent AWS or similar infrastructure to host their communication centers, fully encrypted and protected, and totally inconspicuous from the outside.</span></p> <p> </p> <p><span lang=\"EN-US\">Their targeted hacking campaigns are usually untraceable and uninvestigable, moreover, even the victims oftentimes fail to detect the well-prepared and noiseless intrusions. The mercenaries have access to banking institutions, lawyers and offshore companies to silently cash out their loot in any currency and in any form including gold and real estate. </span><span lang=\"EN-US\">While public forums in Russian, that offer conversion of payments into gift cards or cash in rubles, are mainly oriented for beginners.</span></p> <p> </p> <p><span lang=\"EN-US\">Both layers of cybercrime markets are, however, projected to grow in 2021. Lack of cooperation between international law enforcement agencies, missing extradition treaties between the countries and growing political tensions – all hinder prosecution of cybercrime. While proliferation of crypto currencies spurs the feeling of impunity among the attackers.</span></p>