Hacker forums and Dark Net ecosystems are seeing more ads soliciting instead of offering sleazy cyber work.

Last year on March 16, 2020 the Dow Jones reported its largest-ever single day fall of almost 3,000 points due to the initial shock of the global pandemic. In Europe, unemployment rose from 6.5% to 7.5% over the course of the year.

Against this backdrop, a growing trend began towards the end of 2020 and continues to develop this year: people in certain countries have been turning to cybercrime syndicates and various hacking forums to offer their services and availability for work for any kind of work available.

Within this ‘Dark Net’—the black market of the Internet that facilitates deals in drugs, cyber-weapons, forgery and more, vendors put out ads offering openings to those who are interested to apply. These job opportunities—not available in search engines for the average person browsing the mainstream Internet—are arranged in a format similar to e-commerce online product catalogs, complete with features like advanced reputation, search and shipping.

However, from the beginning of 2021, Check Point researchers noticed that there has been an increase in the number of individuals taking the initiative to send out ads seeking work. Around 10 to 16 new ads are being placed monthly in certain hacking forums.

One jobseeker, who was “home 24/7 because of the pandemic” was “active at least 10 hours a day” and available work with “whoever replies”. Another dark-job seeker said he was in a difficult financial situation and was offering to work in the sphere of “financial cash out, DDOS, security” and promised not to “ask too many stupid questions”.

As countries grapple with the realities of a struggling global economy, it is important that they also turn their attention to the underground job marketplace that is growing, said the researchers.