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Illegally Obtained Digital Identities Traded on Genesis Market Increase By 250% In Two Years

  • New report uncovers the tactics used to steal and sell genuine digital fingerprints on the most popular deep web marketplace

Netacea, the bot detection and mitigation specialist, has published new research into the Genesis Market, the world’s largest invite-only deep web marketplace that trades digital fingerprints and enables buyers to impersonate a victim online. Netacea’s report ‘Buying Bad Bots Wholesale: The Genesis Market’ reveals that since April 2019, the number of stolen digital identities available to purchase on the marketplace has increased from 100,000 to over 350,000 today, with more than 18,000 being added each month.

The tasks that the Genesis Market bots undertake involve large-scale infection of consumer devices to steal the digital fingerprints, cookies, saved logins and autofill form data available on them. That data is packaged up and put up for sale, with prices for these bots ranging from less than $1 to $370 for bots that contain more significant amounts of embedded data.

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The report reveals that upon purchase of a Genesis bot, buyers receive a custom browser into which they load the data. This enables those buyers to represent themselves online as the individual whose personal information has been stolen. The bot user is able to browse the internet as the victim, use saved logins to access the victim’s accounts or continue a victim’s session if login cookies are available – all without access to the original device

‘We’re caught in a Catch-22. With more companies making the digital leap and an increasing amount of data available online, there’s been a surge in data breaches as hackers look to cash in on consumer’s data. As hackers invest more and profit more from attacks, the number of attacks increases’, said Matthew Gracey-McMinn, Head of Threat Research at Netacea. ‘The significant growth of the Genesis Market represents a huge step forward for attackers challenging client-side detection mechanisms and is making that Catch-22 harder to break.’

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As a result of the findings, Netacea has invested £250,000 ($300,000) into hiring new threat research analysts to expand its threat research team and increasing training for new and existing team members. Part of the investment will also be dedicated to the creation of a standardise bot management framework for businesses to capture all automated bot threats and their life-cycle in a series of comprehensive kill chains.

‘As attackers advance, so will cybersecurity defences,’ continued Matthew Gracey-McMinn. ‘It’s an arms race, but automation can and must be used as our secret weapon. Our investment into more research and the creation of a bot management framework will help ensure businesses and their customers remain protected.’

The report includes:

  • Analysis of the tactics used by Genesis Market bots to mimic genuine users; bypass defences; and access large amounts of private, financial or political information.
  • In-depth research into the Genesis Security plugin and Genesium Browser, which allow buyers to browse the internet as the victim.
  • Exploration of anti-detect browsers and how the Genesis Market technology ensures anonymity online.

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