Most hackers are hit killers, investigation shows

Hackers for rent are a bunch of scammers, according to research published last week by Google and academics from the University of California, San Diego.

The researchers were specifically interested in a segment of black-market services known as & # 39; hackers for hire & # 39 ;: the scammers you send in if you don't have the hacking skills to do the work yourself and the moral your ear whispers that this is not fun or legal to do.

Such services offer targeted attacks that remain a powerful threat, the researchers said, due to the fact that they are tailor-made. Think of spear-fishing or whaling attacks that are so convincing because they get all the details right, such as forging company invoices or setting up copycat login sites that steal account credentials.

Things like that take effort. Fortunately, most hired hackers are unable to cope with the task, to put it mildly. Many were outright scams – not so surprising – and some would not even be able to cope with attacks on Gmail. For those services that sometimes took on the challenge of hacking Gmail accounts, costs stood out over the course of two years, from $ 123 to $ 384 – with a peak of $ 461 in February 2018.

Yahoo hack prices have followed the same as Google, while prices for Facebook and Instagram hacking have actually fallen to the current average of $ 307.

The researchers assume that the price differences for hacking the various e-mail providers and the price change are probably caused by what they call both operational and economic factors: namely that Google and Yahoo have become better at protecting e-mail accounts, while prices have increased their market for a specific service:

Prices will naturally increase as the market for a specific service shrinks (reducing back-end infrastructure handling costs due to platform evasion avoidance) and also if specific services introduce more or more effective protection mechanisms to be circumvented (increase in transaction costs for each hacking attempt).