One of the largest hacking communities lives on the dark web. The dark web is a special, hidden network that’s built on the Tor network. This network specializes in keeping everyone anonymous, making it the perfect den for hackers.
A recent study revealed that the hacking sites have their sights set on the IoT world, with hackers sharing information between one another on how to crack devices.
What Do the Hackers Want?
Interestingly, hackers from different countries have different motivations for hacking IoT devices. In general, hackers are just curious about this new technology. They’re content to simply harvest information about how to hack these devices, without going much further.
The Russian hacking group, however, has different plans. They are more interested in how they can make some money from hacking IoT devices. Their focus is on routers, smart meters, and – interestingly enough – smart gas pumps.
Why Gas Pumps?
So far, hackers haven’t really figured out a way to make money off gas pumps. They know how to modify them – a Brazillian hacker wrote a tutorial on how to change the name of a pump to “cashew juice,” for instance.
Nobody really knows how to turn this progress into money, though. There’s a chance that hackers will try to circumvent gas pumps to give them free gas, thus saving money.
What About Smart Meters?
Another curious focus for Russian hackers is smart meters. This area has seen a lot more progress than gas pumps.
Hackers make a profit from taking smart meters and modifying them so the user can control it. They then sell these modified meters on the dark web to people who want to save money on their gas and electric bills.
How Do Hackers Make Money From General IoT Devices?
Gasp pumps and smart meters have a clear way to save money, but what about gadgets such as smart cameras and home hubs?
While these can’t be used to make money directly, they can be conscripted into a botnet or used as a VPN exit node, then the hackers can sell them to other people who have a need for those services.
Can These Forums Be Taken Down?
If you give the report a thorough read, you’ll notice that the hackers talk on forums that look very similar to ones on the regular Internet. How come this information is shared without any legal ramifications?
The problem is these forums are hosted on the Tor network. As we mentioned earlier, Tor emphasizes anonymity. This makes it great for activists to get their cause mentioned without being shut down by a tyrannical government, but it also gives hackers a safe haven.
The Dark Side of IoT
IoT devices have spiked the curiosity of dark web hackers, who are keen to put their skills to the test with these new devices. From gas pumps to smart meters, the rise of IoT gives hackers new opportunities to make or save money.