Many cybercriminal employers are pursuing developers, attackers and designers — and they are increasingly looking across the dark web to find these IT professionals, according to research from the Kaspersky Digital Footprint Intelligence (DFI) team.
Developers were the most in-demand IT professionals on the dark web between January 2020 and June 2022, Kaspersky DFI reported. They accounted for 61% of all dark web job ads during this period. Within this specialty, web developers and malware coders were two of the most in-demand professionals.
Attackers were the second most popular job ads that cybercriminal employers posted on the dark web, Kaspersky DFI noted. They accounted for 16% of all dark web job ads. In addition, cybercriminal employers frequently sought attackers for ransomware infection, data theft or stealing cash from accounts.
Designers ranked third among the dark web professionals in demand, Kaspersky DFI indicated. They accounted for 10% of all dark web job ads. Cybercriminal employers typically hired designers in the hopes that they could help them create phishing pages or other malicious products.
What Cybercriminal Employers Pay IT Pros
To assess the median levels of pay offered to IT professionals on the dark web, Kaspersky experts analyzed more than 800 IT job ads and chose more than 160 of the ones explicitly cited a salary. In their analysis, Kaspersky experts found that the median levels of pay offered to IT professionals varied between $1,300 and $4,000 monthly. They also pointed out that the highest median salary of $4,000 could be found in ads for reverse engineers.
Furthermore, Kaspersky experts stated that$20,000 awarded to a developer was the highest monthly salary they saw in dark web ads. Comparatively, $200 was the lowest fee offered. Some dark web job ads included bonuses and commissions as well.
How to Protect Against Dark Web Threats
Cybercriminal employers seek IT professionals on the dark web to help them with malicious activities. There is much that global organizations can do to guard against dark web threats, including:
- Monitor dark web resources to identify and address potential threats before they lead to cyberattacks and data breaches.
- Use multiple threat intelligence sources to keep pace with current and emerging dark web threats.
- Utilize managed detection and response (MDR) and other security services to combat dark web threats.
Searchlight Security and other cybersecurity companies offer tools to help MSSPs track dark web threats. Meanwhile, the global dark web intelligence market is projected to grow. As such, more MSSPs may develop and launch services to help organizations stay ahead of dark web threats.