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Cyber criminals turn to “Dark Web” for easy-to-use malware

Cyber criminals are finding the Dark Web an easy place to test, fine tune and distribute malware that has already begun to cause large scale damage despite being simple in nature.

Related: Cyber criminals localise threats stoking the chargeware wild-fire in Europe

McAfee aired the findings as part of its Threats Report for Q4 2013 that referred specifically to the Target data breach in the US and the fact that cyber criminals used fairly simple methods to obtain malicious data.

The report stated that "relatively unsophisticated technologies likely purchased 'off the shelf' from the Cybercrime-as-a-Service community, and customized specifically for these attacks," were used in the Target attack, according to NDTV.

"The fourth quarter of 2013 will be remembered as the period when cybercrime became 'real' for more people than ever before," said Vincent Weafer, senior VP for McAfee. "These cyber thefts occurred at a time when most people were focused on their holiday shopping and when the industry wanted people to feel secure and confident in their purchases. The impact of these attacks will be felt both at the kitchen table as well as the boardroom table."

Target’s data breach affected some 110 million customers and the report also ascertained that the credit card details of those customers could easily be offered on marketplaces such as Lampeduza Republic, which was described as a “disciplined and functional marketplace” due to its “well-organised hierarchy.”

"Thieves can pay for the stolen credit cards using one of the many anonymous virtual currency mechanisms, such as Bitcoin. We believe these breaches will have long-lasting repercussions. We expect to see changes to security approaches and compliance mandates and, of course, lawsuits. But the big lesson is that we face a healthy and growing cybercrime industry which played a key role in enabling and monetizing the results of these attacks,” McAfee added.

Related: Cyber-crime responsible for huge rise in Tor use

One of the more worrying aspects is that McAfee continues to point out the fact the malware is far from advanced and that the Dark Web is acting as an easy marketplace for those that want to get hold of easy-to-use malware.