Threat Management

Back to school: Exclusive online course aimed at budding payment card fraudsters

Cybercriminals seeking to up their payment card fraud skills not only can get assistance from peers or buy guides, they can also take an intensive and exclusive six-week online carding course for just $745 plus $200 for course materials.

The course, found in a Russian forum, says it aims to teach would-be criminals “to become a professional in the world of carding,” according to Digital Shadows, which studied the course.

“While tutorials and guides have existed for many years, the online course was on a scale and level of professionalism we have not seen before,” the company said in its report, “Inside Online Carding Courses Designed for Cybercriminals.” It comes “complete with webinars, instructors and reading material.”

The course includes 20 lectures and features five expert instructors as well as question and answer sessions. “The course instructors claim that, with this knowledge, carders can make more than $3,000 a month for 10-12 hours a week of work. Of course, fraudsters who work more than this can reap a higher profit, potentially making $12k a month, based on a standard 40-hour working week,” Digital Shadows reported. “For each lecture, which lasts between one and two hours, the number of attendees is capped at 15. The course is conducted in Russian, so it is specifically targeted at fraudsters in this geography.”

Retraining is offered every six months for an additional cost.  While the course is advertised in a number of forums, word of mouth is its best marketing tool. Digital Shadows noted that one ad for the course said, “We don't need PR.”

By scrutinizing guides and courses offered to budding fraudsters, security pros can “see what defenses the carders struggle to bypass, as well as the new tactics they have devised,” Digital Shadows contended.

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