Then and Now: On the Maturity of the Cybercrime Markets the Lesson That Black-Hat Marketeers Learned

L. Allodi, M. Corradin, F. Massacci

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


© 2013 IEEE.Cybercrime activities are supported by infrastructures and services originating from an underground economy. The current understanding of this phenomenon is that the cybercrime economy ought to be fraught with information asymmetry and adverse selection problems. They should make the effects that we observe every day impossible to sustain. In this paper, we show that the market structure and design used by cyber criminals have evolved toward a market design that is similar to legitimate, thriving, online forum markets such as eBay. We illustrate this evolution by comparing the market regulatory mechanisms of two underground forum markets: 1) a failed market for credit cards and other illegal goods and 2) another, extremely active marketplace for vulnerabilities, exploits, and cyber attacks in general. The comparison shows that cybercrime markets evolved from unruly, scam for scammers market mechanisms to mature, regulated mechanisms that greatly favors trade efficiency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-46
JournalIEEE Transactions on Emerging Topics in Computing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

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