Researchers have discovered an online store where criminals sell access to hacked servers, another cautionary example of miscreants’ commercialization of stolen data.
Alberto Ortega, a researcher at AlienVault Labs, revealed the underground activities in a Wednesday blog post, saying that server admin credentials were being trafficked on a site called “SSH–Zone.” With the stolen credentials, attackers can leverage a conduct a number of malicious activities, including distributing malware, spamming victims or installing botnet command-and-control servers.
The online shop sells login information for admins with accounts on Plesk and OpenSSH, software used to access and manage servers. According to a screen shot of the SSH–Zone website, saboteurs are specifically selling access to hacked Linux servers.
Attackers amassed the login credentials they are selling by using an automated method for cracking credentials.
Researchers believe that Russian attackers run the operation because site administrators spoke Russian and some software installed on the server was written in that language.
This undertaking meshes with the general trend of cyber crooks increasingly commercializing their activities.
A report released this week from online fraud prevention firm 41st Parameter, titled “The Growing Threats of Cyber Crime: Five Trends and Takeaways,” said the “promise of significant profit has given rise to a complex fraud ecosystem,” encouraging scammers to make their activities more organized.
The report said stolen credentials often are “packaged in a standardized format,” and later used to further extract information from victims, through spear phishing email campaigns targeting unsuspecting users.