McAfee Warns about the Rising Popularity of the ‘Dark Web’
McAfee has issued a warning against the continuously rising popularity of the so-called ‘Dark Web.’ In its recent quarterly report, the PC security vendor found that more online scammers are now illegally buying credit card data and other personal information through the Dark Web. To describe how worse the situation has become, the company said more illegal transactions are happening online these days just like more consumers are buying on online stores.
For those who are not familiar about the Dark Web, it is an online venue where hackers and scammers are selling the information they illegally obtained to other parties or fellow scammers who aim to exploit and defraud consumers using those data. It was instrumental in the previous high-profile online attacks, like the recent incidences that affected major retailers like Target.
In fact, McAfee has more reasons to believe that the recent rash of those point-of-scale (POS) credit card hacking incidences should be blamed to the Dark Web. The company claims that it has found that most of the recent hacking problems affecting retailers could be traced back to such off-the-shelf system.
Holiday shopping season attacks
The recent hacking attacks on retailers affected companies like Neiman Marcus, Harbor Freight Tools, Michaels Craft stores, White Lodging, and Easton-Bell Sports. According to McAfee’s own research, up to 40 million credit card numbers are now illegally form sale across the Dark Web. Those card numbers were either stolen in batches, which could take about a million to 4 million at a single time.
McAfee also believes that the accelerating trend could significantly pose a huge threat to the well established certificate authority (CA) model, which is specifically for authenticating ‘safe’ software.
The threat of greater cybercrime
According to McAfee, the last quarter of 2013 should be well remembered as a period when cybercrime emerged to become a ‘real’ threat to consumers than ever before. That is because the most recent major cyber attacks on retailers and consumers occurred when most people were focused heavily on the holiday shopping season. Ironically, it was also the time when the industry wanted consumers to feel more confident and secure about their online purchases.
For the company, the impact of those recent attacks would bear implications on the IT and retail industries. For many analysts, the popularity of the Dark Web could bring about a ‘coming of age’ for ‘cybercrime as a rising service.’