Developers are in high demand in the cybercrime underworld
Developers are the most in-demand roles on the dark web, according to recent research from Russian cyber firm Kaspersky.
Driving the news: Kaspersky's analysis of job advertisements posted on dark web forums between January 2020 and June 2022 found that some cybercrime and state-sponsored hacking groups were offering developers upward of $20,000 a month to join their ranks.
- Job ads for developers made up 61% of posts researchers spotted across 155 dark web forums.
The big picture: Cybercriminals and state-backed hacking groups have become increasingly organized in recent years.
- Some groups even mimic professional organizations by conducting job interviews and creating an HR department.
Between the lines: The analysis paints a clearer picture of why some hackers end up being tempted to cross over to malicious work.
Details: Kaspersky analyzed approximately 200,000 employment-related ads posted during the year-and-a-half period.
- Posts peaked in March 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic began, likely due to soaring unemployment rates at the time.
- 82% of relevant advertisements mentioned "test assessments" candidates would have to take, and 37% requested people submit a CV or portfolio.
- Median monthly salaries ranged from $1,300 to $4,000 depending on the role.
- 17% of the job ads were people looking for jobs, rather than groups looking to hire someone.
The intrigue: While Kaspersky analyzed only IT-related jobs, researchers also spotted ads for nontechnical positions — including one moderating a group's Telegram channel.
Yes, but: Not all of the job listings were necessarily criminal or illicit, Kaspersky researchers noted.
- "Most dark web employers offer semi-legal and illegal jobs, but there are ads with potentially legal job offers that comply with national laws," researchers wrote. "An example is creating IT learning courses."
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