Desperate job seekers turn to hackers for work

Check Point Research has noted that job seekers worldwide are “breaking bad” and turning to the dark web in search of work.

As economies suffer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment rates have increased significantly across the world.

“In the US, unemployment peaked to unprecedented levels in April 2020 at 14.8% before declining to 6.7% in December,” Check Point Research said.

“In Europe unemployment rose from 6.5% to 7.5% over the course of the year.”

“Within this backdrop, Check Point Research noticed a growing trend that began towards the end of 2020 and continues to develop in 2021 – people are turning to the Darknet and various hacking forums to offer their services and availability for work for any kind of work available, including less than legitimate roles,” it said.

Normally on the Darknet market and hacking forums, it is vendors that offer positions to those who are interested to apply.

These job opportunities are arranged in a format similar to eBay and Amazon, complete with features like advanced reputation, search and shipping.

“However it looks like the tables have turned,” Check Point Research said.

“From the beginning of 2021, we noticed that there was an increase in the number of individuals taking the initiative to send out ads seeking work.””

The researchers started observing 10-16 new adverts now being placed monthly in selected hacking forums.

No questions asked

Researchers noted that many of these new adverts were placed by job seekers who are open to work that may be illegitimate.

“One job seeker, who says he is in a difficult financial situation, is offering to work in the sphere of ‘financial cash out, DDOS, security’ and promises not to ask too many stupid questions,” Check Point Research said.

Other job adverts include posters citing experience in a variety of online scams, stating they are looking for any roles in this illegitimate industry.

A few of the increasing number of job posters on these dark web marketplaces and hacking forums state they are willing to earn money by any means necessary, while others are more explicit about their ability to carry out illegitimate activities.

“The Darknet functions primarily as the black market of the Internet and is typically involved in transactions involving drugs, cyber-weapons, forgery and more,” Check Point Research said.

“Unfortunately, in desperation, some job seekers are willing to participate in such illegal work if it means being able to earn an income.”

“From our research, you can see that people from different parts of the world are offering their abilities, expertise and availability on these platforms,” it said.

The researchers noted that as countries grapple with the realities of a struggling global economy, it is important they take note of the growing underground job marketplace.

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Desperate job seekers turn to hackers for work