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Photo Illustration: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Hacking guides for sale on criminal markets are cheap, plentiful and often only a decade out of date, according to a new report from intelligence firm Terbium Labs.

The big picture: The guides, often sold as giant caches of manuals, are often padded with irrelevant material (one included ''Cabinetry for Dummies," said Terbium VP of Research Emily Wilson), and plagiarism runs rampant. But if you power through the scams and thievery by the vendors, there's plenty of good information on scams and thievery for would-be hackers.

By the numbers:

  • Only 5% of the 44,000 individual documents Terbium purchased came from 2018 or later. More than 25% were a decade old, with the bundled documents including a range of files from the 1990s and around 1,000 copies of the same transcription of "The Anarchist's Cookbook."
  • Less than a quarter of the files for sale were unique.
  • But at an average cost of $0.01 cent per file, nascent fraudsters could afford to be taken for a few rides as long as they find an occasional gem.

Details: "When the guides were current, the techniques would be effective," said Wilson.

  • The study looked at both multipacks of guides, which averaged $12.99, and individual files, averaging $3.88 a piece. Cost, said Wilson, was not indicative of quality.
  • The quality varied wildly, from short snippets of information to a thorough 40-page guide on doxing.
  • Documents sold from multiple vendors contained admonishments not to resell the work. "Oops," said Wilson.

The danger: "One of the things that make these guides dangerous is that they are recipes for digital crime sold alongside the ingredients," said Wilson.

  • Don't know where to buy an important component of your scam? Many of the guides contain vendor referrals.
  • Packages sometimes included files beyond manuals, like fonts to use in phishing scams.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Report: U.S. calls for UN-led Afghan peace talks

Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department in Washington, D.C., in February. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a letter outlining a plan to accelerate peace talks with the Taliban that the U.S. is "considering" a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, Afghan outlet TOLOnews first reported Sunday.

Why it matters: In the letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, also obtained by Western news outlets, Blinken expresses concern that the security situation may worsen and the Taliban "could make rapid territorial gain" after an American military withdrawal, even with the continuation of U.S. financial aid.

Harry and Meghan accuse British royal family of racism

Photo: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via Reuters

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle delivered a devastating indictment of the U.K. royal family in their conversation with Oprah Winfrey: Both said unnamed relatives had expressed concern about what the skin tone of their baby would be. And they accused "the firm" of character assassination and "perpetuating falsehoods."

Why it matters: An institution that thrives on myth now faces harsh reality. The explosive two-hour interview gave an unprecedented, unsparing window into the monarchy: Harry said his father and brother "are trapped," and Markle revealed that the the misery of being a working royal drove her to thoughts of suicide.

Updated 5 hours ago - Axios Twin Cities

In photos: Thousands rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Demonstrators on March 7 outside the Hennepin County Government Center, where the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged with murdering George Floyd, will begin in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of protesters marched through Minneapolis' streets Sunday, urging justice for George Floyd on the eve of the start of former police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death, per AFP.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start Monday, with jury selection procedures.