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When we think of the dark web or the underground marketplaces where malware or data exchange occurs, often there’s an image of one big bad place.
However, there are plenty of cultural divides within these marketplaces too. Anna Chung, Principal Researcher – Palo Alto Networks, said at the TNW 2021 conference that individuals from various regions create their own sub-cultures in these marketplaces:
There are individuals from various regions, creating their cultures in the underground marketplace. How do they trust each other, how do they talk to each other, how do they exchange the money, what are they going after, and how do they separate their roles gives us a lot of understanding of how they operate.
She said that one of the main divides amongst these marketplaces is the language they speak. According to her, most marketplaces fall into Russian-speaking, Chinese-speaking, Spanish-speaking, and English-speaking (that could have folks from all over the world).
These language-based cultures also define how hackers deal with each other. Chung said that in Russian-speaking marketplaces, you have to take your time to build trust and get vetted through different processes for better access, while conversations in Chinese-speaking marketplaces are short and to the point.
She said that while marketplaces are one of the prime places where cybercriminals do their business, a lot of them just operate on apps like Telegram and use social networks to interact with each other.