The Black Market is a hollywood type of buzz word for most suburban families sitting around the table. Its the place far away being controlled from the shadows of a bad part of town or a foreign country. Well, we would like to shed some light on how the black market has evolved and how you may be directly involved without knowing it.
Small disclaimer: Some of the information I highlight may be “under investigation” and therefore some sources or specific information will not be mentioned. Sorry in advance.
How relevant is the Black Market today?
Extremely. There is a multi billion dollar industry powering the black market. An unlimited supply of all the goods a bad guy could ever want can be had with some quick clicks of a mouse. We’re not talking about small time sites that operate pretty much out in the open for anyone to access with the right URL. Those sites can be found within minutes of looking and generally sell smaller illegal items like knockoff bags (a 225 Billion dollar year business, we’re looking at you soccer moms! lol) and steroids straight out of the labs in Moldova (https://ashop.in/).
We are focusing on the online systems that are fueling an industry that sells things like a Korean kidney, fresh from a healthy body for around $30,000. It can be delivered much like an amazon package. There are of course the usual (still terrible) suspects like prostitution (14.6 billion/yr) & cocaine (35 billion/yr). So yes, the black market is not only relevant, but its a booming industry much like Amazon.com
If your going to run an online market place offering such a broad range of item that its sure to piss off all major countries, you’re going to have to have a one of the most advanced cyber infrastructures possible. And as you might have guessed, “they” absolutely do. Last year I came to know of a situation involving a smaller ring of black market trade being run online. The russian mob had developed a system that literally ran un-detected, behind the scenes of the world wide web. Picture a craigslist for criminals. Safe from the usual eyes of the FBI & NSA. This website is home to hundreds of listings for products like mass quantities of drugs, to small arms shipments & even human trafficking. What’s interesting about this “ring” of black market dealers was the online infrastructure that was put into place in order for all of this to happen.
The russian mob has developed a super complex application that would gain access to mid level servers all over the world. It would do this undetected even in the face of advanced firewalls and security measures. Then the application will go to work setting up completely hidden “partitions” on the server. Think of small 15-25% slices of a pie dedicated to this application. So lets jump forward. Time has passed and this application now has access to hundreds of servers & TB’s all completely undetected. From there the application can run a full website using “product listings” to fill the many empty spaces it now controls. This arrangement allows the black market traders to shop and interact with the site without leaving much of any foot print. Because the system is hooked into hundreds of servers, the IP address & other key information needed for tracking is continually moving and drawing no red flags from any one source.
The application its self is so complex it took some of the best in the industry time to figure out how to even find the code on physical servers they KNEW were infected. For those in the development industry, thats some amazing work. This kind of arrangement continues to spread its risk & content to more and more servers every month, leaving those who do track down this code, to work with a very small window of time before the system jumps to the next batch of servers.
How you may be involved
This is where YOU just might come into the picture. If your a small business, developer, content creator or nearly any other business in today’s market, you probably have a low grade easy target server sitting out there waiting for the next superbug to touch. Unfortunately at this time, setting up a secure environment strong enough to block out applications like the one mentioned is just too expensive for most. Hopefully the next wave of secure technologies that comes our way will put an end to high powered train robbery of our servers 😉
PS: we’re looking at you Godaddy, Hostgator, iWeb…