Hackers buy and sell our private data in a black market that is so organised and well-protected that it’s tough for law enforcement officials to keep up with sites that often pop up overnight and disappear by the next morning.
What’s more, there’s a catch-22 where criminal investigations may just lead to more cyber crime, as noted by a report released earlier this year by the RAND Corporation’s National Security Research Division.
“[L]aw enforcement may become a victim of its own success,” the report noted, as “more arrests and takedowns lead to more media coverage, and hackers become more aware of the opportunities provided by black markets. Further, those already in the market grow smarter as they learn from law enforcement’s investigative techniques.”
When officials do manage to take down these sites, new ones tend to pop up in their place. Here are some black market sites that re-emerged almost immediately after they were taken down, as noted by Rand:
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