Hackers and drug dealers on the dark web are offering Black Friday sales on stolen credit cards, discounted botnets and cheap heroin.
A report published Wednesday by cybersecurity firm Digital Shadows shows mentions of “Black Friday” spiked on dark web forums in recent months.
“Black Friday has had the unintended consequence of emboldening and enabling profit-seeking cyber criminals,” Rafael Amado, a research analyst with the company, said.
One of the major trends researchers found was tutorials teaching aspiring cybercriminals how to conduct credit card fraud against some of the biggest retailers on Black Friday. Lessons were being peddled for as little as $20.
Carding tutorials targeting Walmart, Best Buy and Nike have been advertised on hacking forums and in private Telegram channels in recent days.
In one Portuguese-language Telegram channel, the administrator highlights the impending Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, before reminding users to take advantage of the fresh payment cards being sold in their online store.
In the spirit of the holiday season, one carder urged others to come together and pool resources in order to bulk buy items during the sales with stolen credit cards, which could then be sold for a profit. A contribution of just $60 would cover the cost of stolen payment cards and the hacker’s time.
Buying Black Friday items with stolen credit cards is only the first stage. The hackers also need to find somewhere to have the items delivered. As such, some are looking to buy people’s P.O. boxes or empty homes to use as drop points. To further insulate themselves from possible arrest, the hackers are also looking to pay “pickers” to collect their ill-gotten items.
Hackers are also offering their own discounts.
One offered access to their botnets — networks of hacked computers used to conduct cyberattacks — for just $60, depending on your location. Another offered Black Friday “coupons” for discounted proxy services that help hide your identity.
On the dark web, which is accessible only through an encrypted web browser, it’s a similar story.
VICE News found thousands of Black Friday deals on dark web marketplaces, such as Dream and Wall Street Marketplace, with vendors offering everything from discounted heroin and weed to cut-price lifetime Netflix subscriptions and even knuckledusters.
U.S. consumers are expected to spend $90 billion between Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year.
Cover image: A hooded man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture taken on May 13, 2017. (REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration)