Market Overview

Trend Micro Research Paper Uncovers Costs of Malicious Activities, Goods and Services Sold in the Russian Cybercriminal Underground


Report based on data gathered from online forums and services used by Russian cybercriminals, articles written by hackers, and fundamental concepts that Russian operatives follow

CUPERTINO, Calif., Oct. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A new Trend Micro Incorporated (TYO: 4704; TSE: 4704) research paper describes a broad offering of tools and activities that can be bought and sold on underground forum shopping sites. It examines the prices charged for various types of services, while also providing examples of information shared among cybercriminals.  In examining two dozen basic and fundamental tools and technologies that cybercriminals create and use to enhance their business, Trend Micro researchers also assess the top-ten ranked malicious activities and services:

  1. Programming services and software sales
  2. Hacking services
  3. Dedicated server sales and hosting
  4. Spam, call and SMS flooding services
  5. Download sales
  6. Denial-of-service-attack services
  7. Traffic sales
  8. File encryption services
  9. Trojan sales
  10. Exploit writing services and sales

Throughout the report, snapshots of pricing are gleaned from underground forums helping paint a comprehensive picture of the Russian underground economy.  In fact the investment to become a cybercriminal is minimal. Here are a few examples of what one could get for approximately US$50 in the cybercriminal bazaar.

  • A stub crytpter with various add-ons goes for US$30 – 80. File crypting is primarily employed to conceal infected files or malware from legitimate security software.
  • VPN services for 3 months are offered at US$50-55. The VPN service preserves anonymity, while allowing hackers to access websites.
  • A 1-day denial-of-service attack goes for US$30-70. These attacks aim to paralyze websites or computers.
  • Installation of ZeuS in your host: US$35. Installation of ZeuS in my host: US$40. ZeuS is one of the most infamous botnet toolkits, for making botnets that remotely steal personal information for victims' computers.
  • Trojan backdoor source code for sale: US$50. A Trojan malware masquerades as a legitimate computer program or application, in order to steal user data.

The report reveals that generally much higher prices (more than US$50) are being paid for sophisticated technology, tools and services.  Cybercriminals can even test their threat against solutions already being offered by security companies. In conclusion, the research paper notes that "the Russian shadow economy is an economy of scale, one that is service oriented and that has become a kleptocracy wherein crony capitalism has obtained a new lease on life in cyberspace."

The Report is available @

About Trend Micro

Trend Micro Incorporated (TYO: 4704; TSE: 4704), the global cloud security leader, creates a world safe for exchanging digital information with its Internet content security and threat management solutions for businesses and consumers.  A pioneer in server security with over 20 years' experience, we deliver top-ranked client, server and cloud-based security that fits our customers' and partners' needs, stops new threats faster, and protects data in physical, virtualized and cloud environments. Powered by the industry-leading Trend Micro™ Smart Protection Network™ global threat intelligence data mining framework, our products and services stop threats where they emerge – from the Internet. They are supported by 1,000+ threat intelligence experts around the globe. 

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