SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Flashpoint, the global leader in Deep & Dark Web data and intelligence, today announced the release of 2015-2016 Highlights & Trends in the Deep & Dark Web, an annual research report that looks to uncover the growing complexity of illicit communities and the industrialization of cybercrime over the past year. In the report, Flashpoint's researchers highlight prolific trends that pose the greatest risk to organizations and their critical assets.
"The last year has been one of escalating activity for cybercriminal activity in the Deep & Dark Web, as we have seen a number of new and telling trends in places such as Europe, the Middle East and Asia, including the maturing of the Chinese and French underground communities," said Josh Lefkowitz, CEO of Flashpoint. "To add to this, the illicit goods marketplaces are also maturing, and new, specialized marketplaces are emerging. When you combine that with novel schemes being used for fraud and financial crime, the expertise necessary to engage in illicit activity has been lowered substantially, and we now have a larger class of less sophisticated actors engaging in cybercrime."
Malicious actors regularly congregate in the Deep & Dark Web to plan, execute, and profit from a range of illicit activity – from hacking, financial fraud, and intellectual property theft to terrorism and other violent acts. Intelligence about this activity can help organizations prepare for the latest threats before they surface. Flashpoint specializes in monitoring these largely inaccessible regions of the Deep & Dark Web, offering expansive visibility into the darkest corners of the Internet.
With its direct window into the Deep & Dark Web, Flashpoint researchers identified the following trends in 2015:
- Anyone can be a cybercriminal. The barrier to entry for would-be cybercriminals continues to lower, thanks in part to expanding toolsets, such as the variety of malware-as-a-service offerings now available.
- Get your drugs here. Drugs are more desirable and accessible through dark net markets than ever before, resulting in 50 percent of all Tor markets offering narcotics. The growth in online drug markets will cause increased interest in dark net markets.
- The public domain is the Wild West. With conversations on encryption and privacy entering the political realm, and with no legislature or governance in place to address the use of hidden services, the uptick in Tor and I2P services will continue, as well as the exploitation of these services to conduct illicit and malicious activity.
- Not the fortune, but the fame. The politically and financially motivated actors are still a threat to all governments, organizations and individuals that don't line up with their agenda. But another dangerous actor group flourished in 2015 – those motivated by chaos and fame. Their actions and goals are much more challenging to predict.
- Cybercrime and terrorism without borders. The internationalization and globalization of cybercrime is inevitable. In 2015, Flashpoint saw Chinese communities automating with real force for the first time and expanding internationally, taking their business to Russian forums. Jihadist communities also continued to leverage Deep & Dark Web forums. These communities have been invigorated with younger, more tech-savvy talent who offer strong support for ISIS, creating an increased risk to the West and farther reach for the terrorist group.
Prepared by the company's Subject Matter Experts elucidating their insights into the illicit communities operating within the Deep & Dark Web, Flashpoint's 2015-2016 Highlights & Trends in the Deep & Dark Web should aid decision makers and analysts in better understanding and anticipating the risks posed by illicit actors to their organization. A full version of the research report is available at: https://www.flashpoint-intel.com/home/assets/Media/Flashpoint_2015_Highlights_and_Trends.pdf.
"Organizations have come to realize the value of staying ahead of cyber and physical threats by leveraging intelligence from the Deep & Dark Web that provides context and an enhanced understanding of risks and exposure," said Mr. Lefkowitz. "Tactical, operational, and strategic intelligence reduces costs from fraud, data loss, and reputational damage and provides insight into potential criminal or terrorist activities that could affect the organization's business, employees, partners, and customers."
Flashpoint provides the reports, tools, data, and access to experts necessary to obtain tactical, operational, and strategic intelligence from the Deep & Dark Web. The company offers a state-of-the-art platform with data curated by world-class subject matter experts. Flashpoint's products illuminate threatening actors, relationships, behaviors, and networks concealed within these hidden areas of the Internet. Security and intelligence teams across the Fortune 500 and government use the company's data, tools, and expertise to reduce the costs of fraud, data loss, reputational damage, or other attacks. Flashpoint is backed by TechOperators, Greycroft Partners, K2 Intelligence, Bloomberg Beta, and Cisco Investments. For more information visit www.flashpoint-intel.com or follow us on Twitter at @FlashpointIntel.