This fact rarely comes out on Law & Order, but for some crime pays. And pretty well.
A report by Carbon Black that studied 21 of the largest dark web markets in August and September 2017 found that some of those who develop and sell ransomware can haul in as much, if not more, than a law-abiding software developer and overall ransomware sales on the dark web are skyrocketing. Other findings include that for the period ransomware sales totaled about £4.5 million, and were being sold on about 6,300 dark marketplaces with more than 63,000 products available.
“For ransomware authors, successful creation and selling of ransomware offerings appears to be fruitful. Based on our research, some ransomware sellers are making more than £75,000 per year simply retailing ransomware. In some instances, this is double the salary for legitimate software developers, who pull in an average of £52,000 a year, according to PayScale.com,” the report said.
The huge number of dark web markets operating tied to the large inventory of ransomware that has been developed has led to a giant uptick in sales with Carbon Black estimating £4.5 million worth was sold in the two months studied, up from about £375,000 during the same period in 2016.
The ransomware seen for sale during September ran the gamut in price with varieties carrying names like6 Bitcoin Ransomware Easy Money System and Philadelphia Ransomware and Other Make Top $$$ (Clone) going for $5 and $1 (£3.80 and ££0.75), respectively, to ordering custom ransomware for £1,100 The average price to buy ransomware was £8, Carbon Black found. An Android locker cost £190.