TLS certificates are on extensive sale on the dark web both individually and packaged with a wide variety of the crime ware. The initial finding on the accessibility of the TLS certificates on the dark web was from an academic study published by Venafi which is a Utah based cybersecurity company that offers identity protection. The study revealed that though the SSL or the TLS certificate serves the most important function of protecting the user privacy and enhancing the digital trust and security, they are in high demands by the users of the dark web. The SSL/TLS certificates are believed to be the most valuable item in the world of cybercrime as they are usually used by the threat actors undergoing several activities like spoofing websites, data stealth, eaves dropping on traffic and setting up fraudulent eCommerce sites.
A report on TLS certificate were published by the researchers of the University of Surrey in the UK, Georgia State University’s School of Policy Studies and Evidence based Cybersecurity Research Group. It stated that the researchers analyzed 17 websites on the I2P network and 60 marketplaces on the TOR network aiming to collect data on the SSL/TLS certificates. The prices on which the SSL/TLS certificates are sold start from $260 and goes all the way up to $1,600, where the worth is determined using the type of certificate offered and the scope of bundled services on the dark web.
There are even incidents on the dark web where a vendor was spotted offering SSL/TLS certificates from the well-respected authorities against an amount of $2000 in a bundle that consisted of fake documentation allowing the attackers to present themselves as the most trusted U.S or U.K companies. It has also been found out that five dark web marketplaces have offered the buyers with SSL/TLS certificate.