Dark Web Recruitment of Employees Puts Organizations at Risk

by Veriato | Feb 05, 2019

The idea of your employees being solicited on the Dark Web isn’t a hypothetical; it’s real, it’s tempting, and it’s lucrative.

We’ve written previously about the dangers of the Dark Web and why you need to be paying attention as an employer. One of the realities of the dark web is the issue recruitment. Cybercriminal organizations need help, and posting the job on legitimate job sites hoping the potential candidates won’t turn them in doesn’t sound like a good plan. Instead, the Dark Web provides the right context – as, basically, nothing on the Dark Web is  legal – to solicit for new hires.

The scenario below demonstrates how hacker groups leverage the Dark Web to enlist the aid of talented individuals to carry out their unlawful activities.

This month, the hacking group known as Dark Overlord released the decryption keys for the first batch of what they refer to as the “9/11 files” – a set of “impactful” documents they say were stolen from New York real estate firm Silverstein Properties, and UK insurers Hiscox Syndicates and Lloyd’s of London. The campaign implies that more and more damning document will be released as Dark Overlord is paid more money.

But, back in November, they essentially posted a job listing on the Dark Web forum KickAss. Searching for individuals with experience with Windows, Linux, network management, and penetration testing, Dark Overlord offered payment of approximately $63,500 monthly with promise of a raise after two years. Here’s a snippet of the “job posting”:

So, what’s this got to do with your organization?  Plenty.

Think about what’s transpired – a cybercriminal organization is soliciting anyone they believe will help them attain their intended goal.  Today’s it’s about grabbing 9/11 files; but what if tomorrow it’s gaining access to a specific organization’s network? It’s not far-fetched, as cybercriminals are shifting to highly targeted attacks.

With compensation being so completely out of whack from what a regular employee makes, those users that are intent on committing fraud, data theft, or collusion may turn to the easiest means by which to make that money.

Additionally, it’s entirely realistic to envision even one of those solicited by Dark Overlord to use their work computers to carry out their tasks. Having massive data breaches traced back to your organization’s network will only tie up IT, HR, Executive, and Legal resources trying to determine exactly what has transpired and who is responsible.

Organizations need to be monitoring for employee engagement with the Dark Web – usually using Employee Monitoring Software – to detect both attempted and successful access. Other than, say, someone doing research on the Dark Web, there is zero reason why an employee should be going there.

Of course, employees can visit on their home machines, resulting in a need to further use Insider Threat Detection software to proactively identify shifts in behavior and communications that may indicate the employee has become a potential threat.

The Dark Web isn’t going anywhere, and savvy users are becoming more aware of what it offers. The time to be watchful over Dark Web access is now – before your organization is put at risk.