India’s darknet hackers mint bitcoins from illegal assignments

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BENGALURU: Joy D’Souza is a 20-year-old computer science student, freelance website designer and a dark net hacker. Which is to say he operates in an alternative Internet universe where most things are illegal and not easily accessible to commoners.

He belongs to a small but growing tribe in India that earns handsome sums from assignments such as breaking into email or Facebook accounts or electronically spying on a rival, somewhat similar to regular black hat or illegal hackers. Several of them are engineering or computer science students or young professionals with day jobs, confident that the encrypted world they operate in won’t give them away.

D’Souza boasts of having hacked into a politician’s computer. “I got paid around 0.20 bitcoins (or about $800) for this task,” said D’Souza, using a pseudonym as did the other half a dozen hackers that ET spoke with for this report. “The pricing varies on the level of difficulty and urgency.”

The dark net can be accessed by software known as TOR to browse hidden websites anonymously as well as gain access to both legal and illegal services from hackers, among other activities. The TOR network is a group of volunteer-operated servers that allows people to improve their privacy and security on the Internet by separating identification and routing.

“You usually have no clue who your hacker is unless you become a regular client and form some kind of trust, but usually we trust no one,” said Rahul Panwar, a 28-year-old dark net hacker with a day job as a consultant for one of India’s largest technology companies.

For simple tasks such as hacking email and Facebook accounts, the hackers charge $100-250 in bitcoins.

Not Much Awareness Yet
For more complicated assignments such as spying into someone’s computer, the rate is $600-700, or upwards if the individual to be spied on is high-profile. For hacking a web server, the price is about $1,000 in bitcoins.

“And for a targeted attack on a specific user or company, a hacker could charge around $2,000 in bitcoins,” said Sheena Seth, a 35-year-old hacker employed with a startup as a software engineer.

Source:- Times Of India

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