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discord becomes the most popular communication app in the dark network

Posted by forbes at 2020-03-18

Even if it doesn't support end-to-end encryption, discord service still breaks through the "heavy encirclement" and becomes the most favorite communication application of network criminals in the dark network.

You can't believe it. According to an analysis released this week by intsights, a dark Network Threat Intelligence company, discord is nine times more popular than the second ranked Telecom. In order to assess the use of instant messaging services by cyber criminals, the data in this report tracks and records all instant messaging invitations on popular dark network cyber crime platforms between July 2016 and July 2017.

The use of instant messaging services by cyber criminals has increased by a factor of 30

First of all, the analysis results of this study show that the use of instant messaging services by cyber criminals is about 30 times higher than before. You may think in the first reaction, this is because the previous three popular dark network markets (alphabay, Hansa and ramp) have failed, so network criminals have to use instant messaging applications to "communicate". But this is not the case, because the three major dark net markets were shut down in July, and the data statistics of this study were completed before that, so there is not much relationship between the two. Therefore, it is likely that the dark network crime community started to use instant messaging applications spontaneously, rather than being affected by the shutdown of the trading platform.

Discord is nine times more popular than the second most popular, telegraph

There is also an astonishing amount of data in the report, namely the popularity of the discord application. The service doesn't support end-to-end encryption, so when law enforcement asks for user data, there's no way to protect the chat information of these cyber criminals. But even so, the small mobile instant messaging platform with 4.5 million users is still nine times more popular than the second-largest, telecom.

Please take a look at the chart below. In the process of data statistics in this study, discord has always been the favorite of cyber criminals.

It should be noted that Flashpoint, a network security company, published a similar report [portal] in April, but in this report they didn't mention the name of discord at all, which is probably because the two companies collect data in different ways, because intsight mainly collects data by analyzing invitation links in private chat and group chat .

That said, some details in the reports of the two companies are consistent. For example, the popularity of ICQ increased greatly in the first quarter of this year, which is also reflected in the intsights report.

Tor's Android client is still used by a large number of users

Intsights' report also points to an increase in orbot usage. Orbot is tor's Android mobile client, and its installation volume has increased rapidly from over 1 million in 2014 to over 10 million in 2016. This means that although many cyber criminals start to use unencrypted instant messaging clients, they will still proxy their traffic through tor when using mobile clients.

As more and more cyber criminals begin to use mobile phones to engage in their "illegal activities", matanga (monopoly of illegal drugs) in the dark network market began to provide special mobile apps in July this year. This is also a development trend, that is, the illegal dark network market is not only the dark network site, the number of dark network apps will gradually start to increase.  

*Reference source: bleepingcomputer, compiled by FB editor alpha ﹣ h4ck, reprinted from freebuf.com