When it comes to the Cybercriminal Underground, the discussion tends to focus on two countries – Russia and China – and if you were to map out the Deep Web, it would seem to be solely populated by hackers from these regions. But just as crime seems to be a universal constant regardless of country of origin, so it stands to reason that as the Internet reflects human experience, cybercrime is becoming equally universal.
One of our research goals is to be broad and comprehensive. In that vein, we have released our latest whitepaper exploring the mysterious Japanese Cybercriminal Underground Economy: “The Japanese Underground” by Akira Urano of the Forward-Looking Threat Research (FTR) Team.
This paper looks at the Japanese Underground for the first time, and what we find in our research and analysis is an underground market that is both immature and fairly isolated from broader trends. Japanese cybercriminals gather in Japanese-language bulletin boards to share information and wares, but have little traffic with peers outside the country. The notable exception is that Japanese cybercriminals are more likely to buy malware and attack kits from abroad than to build them themselves. This may reflect the youth and relative inexperience of the Japanese Cybercriminal Underground and its participants.
But we shouldn’t falsely conclude that cybercrime isn’t a problem in Japan. As this paper and other research has shown, Japan has recently been a substantial target for malicious activity. We’ve seen major attacks using the Angler Exploit Kit, and in 2014 it was the second most affected country by online banking malware (after the US).
Just a few weeks ago our researchers detailed a major malvertising campaign against Japanese sites that took place in September. All of this is to say that Japan is increasingly a significant market for cybercriminal activity even if its underground is still relatively young.
One thing the Japanese Underground has in common with others such as those in China, Russia and even Brazil, is that there are broad offerings in terms of illegally attainable items. Stolen credit/debit cards, fake passports and compromised eBay accounts can all be purchased for the right price. And once again, our researchers include samples of what the right prices are for this market.
As always, there’s more information in the full report, so be sure to check it out.
For the full Japanese version, click here.
Please add your thoughts in the comments below or follow me on Twitter; @ChristopherBudd.