Cybercriminals are trading dark web for Telegram

The Telegram is increasingly becoming the preferred place for cybercriminals to buy or sell stolen credentials, data sets, and even attack and intrusion tools. Even with less security than the dark web, instant messenger is easier to use and, for customers, it’s just a click away, with slightly higher risk outweighing the gains over hidden forums.

  • Financial companies spend an average of $2 million to circumvent ransomware
  • New malware has targeting government servers and e-commerce transactions
  • Criminal bot attacks are already growing faster than those committed by humans
  • According to a study by Cyberint, a digital security intelligence company, the use of the platform by crooks more than doubled in 2020 — and when it comes to stolen credentials, more specifically, this number can be up to four times higher. In groups, criminals are able to reach tens of thousands of people at once, while relying on some anonymity through the use of invitation links to closed chats, where sample volumes or demonstrations of attacks can be performed.

    Previously, the main app used by crooks on the surface of the network was WhatsApp, but changes in privacy policies, as well as lack of resources, caused the app to be abandoned in favor of Telegram. A search for terms related to lists of stolen credentials, for example, showed the existence of more than 3,400 discussion groups, with the largest exceeding 10 thousand subscribers, including criminals and interested in acquiring stolen volumes containing e-mails and access passwords.

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    The study also found groups specialized in the sale and sharing of financial data, copies of personal documents, hacks aimed at games of success and accounts in streaming services. In addition, of course, instances of cybercrime as a service were also found, with the crooks selling malware and intrusion tools, displaying attacks and providing support to customers interested in carrying out their own.

    Another data shows the growing increase in the use of Telegram for this purpose. According to the survey, the total number of messenger links shared on dark web forums was out of 172 1,000 in 2021 to more than a million this year, with even criminals who traditionally used off-the-surface nets preferring the app for its ease of use and features.

    Examples of advertisements from data sold in Telegram batches; the largest of them, located by a survey, had more than 172 thousand people (Image: Reproduction/ Financial Times)

    However, according to the researchers, those who remain on the dark web have access to more “exclusive” or “hot” content, with a survey conducted by vpnMentor showing that many of the volumes shared on Telegram reached groups after being sold in the restricted forums. With this, the effectiveness of leaks also drops, indicating that criminals may be working in a kind of resale of leaked volumes. In other cases, the perception is that sets that were not sold in one space are shared in the other, for smaller amounts.

    Moderation in growth505691

    According to Cyberint, the groups found by the survey were shared with the Telegram, who removed them days later. In a press release, the messenger said that he continues to work for the security of the platform, removing irregular content and personal information shared without consent, which constitute a breach of the platform’s terms of use.

    Beyond Furthermore, the Telegram claimed to constantly increase its team of moderators, who have already deactivated more than 04 thousand public communities for such violations. Complaints by users are cited as the main path for this removal of content. According to official data, the messenger has more than 172 millions of active users per month.

    Source: Financial Times

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    2021 2021


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