11:50 PMHacking forum is a cybercrime academy
Certain underground hacking forums are acting as training academies and tech-support networks for cybercriminals as well as creating a marketplace for a vast array of cybercrime tools, say researchers.
Database security firm Imperva has been keeping close tabs on an unnamed hacking message board with nearly 220,000 registered members since 2007. It discovered that the forum is used by hackers of varying abilities for "training, communications, collaboration, recruitment, commerce and even social interaction". Chat rooms are filled with discussions on everything from attack planning to requests for help with specific campaigns. Newbies can use the forums to find "how-to-hack" tutorials.
Meanwhile the forum's marketplace acts as an underground bazaar for the sale of either stolen data or attack tools. Other studies by the likes of Symantec have focused on the price of stolen credit card numbers or licensing prices for ZeuS banking Trojan toolkits, for example. Imperva by contrast has paid closer attention to the content of conversations, picking up clues about evolving hacking tactics and approaches in the process.
"Studying hacker forums is important to providing insights into hacker psychology and technical strategies," explained Imperva CTO Amichai Shulman. "Hacker forums are still not well understood by many in the security community, and we believe that studying and quantifying what happens in these online communities can lead to the development of strategies to combat cybercrime."