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Cyber crime groups offering salaries of up to $1.2 million, Kaspersky reports

According to an Analysis by Kaspersky, cybercrime groups are ramping up their hiring efforts as cybercrime continues to be lucrative. The firm says that over 200,000 job ads have been posted on the dark web between January 2020 and June 2022, a period that witnessed an unprecedented increase in cyber attacks due to the pandemic.

“A total of roughly 200,000 employment-related ads were posted on the dark web during the period in question. The largest number of these, or 41% of the total, were posted in 2020,” researchers at the security firm said.

But, it gets crazier. Tech professionals and hackers have been the most sought-after skills and in an attempt to woo candidates, the groups are offering benefits similar to those in a corporate setup and salaries as high as $1.2 million.

The job listings pointed out by Kaspersky came with incentives for employees including holiday pay, flexible working hours, and bonuses for referrals.

Apart from hackers and techies, the groups were also shown to be looking for developers, admins, designers, and experts in software engineering and network testing. The best-paid IT role in the analyzed job posts was developer which attracted salaries of up to $20,000 a month.

“Employers on the dark web seek to attract applications by offering favourable terms of employment, among other things. The most frequently mentioned advantages included remote work, full-time employment, and flextime,” the researchers said.

“You can also come across paid time off, paid sick leaves, and even 'a friendly team' listed among the terms of employment.”

On whether people were applying for these jobs, the researchers said the desire to make easy money was driving people to the dark web to look for jobs.

However, the researchers said while there were some jobs with significantly higher pay than in a legal setup, average-level IT roles seemed to have the same pay in both worlds.

“Although dark web jobs could be expected to pay higher than legitimate ones, we did not detect a significant difference between the median levels of IT professionals’ compensation in the cyber criminal ecosystem and the legitimate job market.”

The report from Kaspersky highlights the growing sophistication in the cybercrime world where groups are restructuring their organisations and now have departments as you would find in a legitimate company.

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