Insider threats are a serious problem in the corporate world. Despite the myriad legal documents protecting a company’s assets from its own employees, the presence of “rogue” insiders – and insider trading – is inevitable.

An alarming trend now shows, among other things, that hackers are approaching insiders and “weaponizing” them for attacks against their employers.

The dark web is that part of the world wide web that lives deep under the radar, even below the unindexed deep web, which actually makes up the bulk of the world wide web. You won’t get there with traditional search engines because they’re not indexed by any. There are special tools and authentication methods that need to be used to get in.

The dark web is also the go-to place for illegal, immoral, unethical and other “under-the-table” transactions. It’s popular with hackers who want to sell their information to anonymous buyers. In fact, it’s the anonymity of the dark web’s users that makes it an ideal spawning ground for illegal deal-making.

Insider Trading and the Dark Web

Among those activities is now a growing trend, where hackers approach “leaky” insiders with offers of money for sharing private corporate data. But it doesn’t stop there. The threat actors take it a step further and actually provide the insider with tools to hack into their corporate servers, which then allows the hackers to extract valuable information that is subsequently sold on the dark web.

This excerpt from a joint report by RedOwl and IntSights – called The Growing Symbiosis of Insiders and the Dark Web – by Ido Wulkan of IntSights and Tim Condello and David Pogemiller of RedOwl, shows the level of activity on insider trading within the dark web.

insider trading and the dark web

How is Information Bought and Sold on the Dark Web?

In regards to insider trading, there are small, closed groups of insiders where membership is often granted only after a person leaks valid and verifiable information from their company, which is then confirmed by the forum’s moderators.

One such forum is KickAss Marketplace, a prominent community within the dark web. Established a year ago in February 2016, this forum specializes in the stock market, forex, commodities, aggressive business remodeling and the “Know What’s Happening Before the Rest” technique.

The membership fee for KickAss Marketplace is 1 BTC, or 1 bitcoin, which is currently valued at about $950.

A member may make a “post”, which is then verified for accuracy. This is one of the protocols of the forum, and they take it very seriously.

At this point, the community doesn’t yet deal in high volumes. The report shows that there are about five active posts every week totaling about 40 BTC worth of transactions, or about $35,800.

The group’s manager claims that some members make more than $5,000 a month by selling valuable insider information.

Another such forum is The Stock Insiders, also geared towards insider trading. Interestingly, their objective is to “…create a long-term and well-selected community of gentlemen who confidently exchange insider information about publicly traded companies.”

And you’d be surprised if you saw the mix of members and what they do for a living when they’re not dark-surfing. These forums are made up of investment firm members, analysts and others with vested interest in insider information; and then there are the hackers and insiders who regularly feed the forums with posts about invariably illegal data available for sale.

Another disturbing piece of information that came from the report is regarding credit card theft. We’ll be covering that in more detail in a follow-up article to this one. Stay tuned.

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