The researchers say that the Hackers now have access to the most secured data files which are used to facilitate the confidential communication between organizations’ servers and client’s computers on the Dark Web.
A growing marketplace for Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) exists on hidden part(Dark Web) on the internet – according to the Georgia State University and the University of Surrey team.
TLS and SSL are security protocols (https protocol) that protects the data and information transfer between computers and servers.
When connecting to each other, the networked machines use keys and SSL/TLS certificates to identify and authenticate themselves same like humans who use usernames and passwords to go online.
The researchers added that when these types of certificates are sold on the darknet, they are bundled with a wide range of crimeware which delivers identities or machines to cybercriminals who use them to spoof the websites. Moreover, that also eavesdrop on encrypted traffic, attacks and steal confidential information among other activities.
According to David Maimon, who is the lead author Associate Professor in Georgia State,
One very interesting aspect of this research was seeing TLS certificates packaged with wrap-around services — such as Web design services — to give attackers immediate access to high levels of online credibility and trust. The five searches in the darknet uncovered 75 mentions for TLS and 2,943 mentions for SSL in comparison to ransomware mentions which were just 531.
Moreover, he added that it was surprising to see that how easy and inexpensive it is to get extended validation certificates along with all the documents which are needed to create very credible shell companies without any verification information.
The Vice President Kevin Bocek of Security and Threat Intelligence for cybersecurity firm Venafi said that
This study found clear evidence of the rampant sale of TLS certificates on the Dark Net, Every organisation should be concerned that the certificates used to establish and maintain trust and privacy on the Internet are being weaponised and sold as commodities to cybercriminals.
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