The French underground has posted a job ad for a dark web content “cleaner” who will be paid for their efforts in stolen goods.
Trend Micro threat researcher Cedric Pernet came across the posting (which is written in French) after making other discoveries in a series of French underground marketplaces.
According to the ad, the dark web marketplace Liberty-Markett (Liberty Market) is looking for a “cleaner,” or a person with good spelling and grammar skills who can clean up the content of the underground forum’s posts.
A copy of the job ad is shown below:
Whoever applies for the job must be willing to sign on for at least one and a half hours at least four times a week. During that time, they are expected to use their command of the French language to correct and in some cases reformat the layout of forum posts.
As for their payment, the candidate will receive “virtual/physical” goods whose total value does not exceed 700 EUR each month. That includes checks, stolen credit card numbers, and other wares commonly found on the dark web.
Pernet feels the ad demonstrates the sophistication of many underground marketplaces in operation today:
“Like most marketplaces and forums on the internet, maintaining such platforms requires the involvement of different people–some will be focused on dealing with the technical aspects (e.g. web-hosting and backend development) while some may be working on managing the content of the marketplace or forum (e.g. user privileges and access to content). There are different roles tied to different levels of responsibility and corresponding access to restricted areas.
“The ad we recently discovered shows us that there are different skills in demand aside from the expected technical ones. French cybercriminals understand the importance of having skilled individuals to run a cybercrime platform as they may have realized the importance of readability and correct spelling, even in the underground. Also, the French language may be a challenge to understand and bad grammar can be a hindrance to successful phishing scams. If marketplace and forum owners do not have the skills required for their desired outcome, outsourcing becomes an option.”
Pernet doesn’t think this job ad, which is the first he’s ever seen, will be the last. On the contrary, he expects to see more postings (potentially as a means to recruit talent) and increased popularity of stolen goods as a form of payment for services offered in underground marketplaces.
To stay on top of computer criminals, it’s important that security researchers take some time to understand how the dark web works. They can begin their learning here.