Hiding in Plain Sight
A Deep Dive Into Criminal Proxy Services

Learn how cybercriminals use criminal proxy services to evade detection and how to detect and stay ahead of them. A deep dive into Criminal Proxy Services.

Hiding in Plain Sight - A Deep Dive Into Criminal Proxy Services

In the world of cybercrime, anonymity is vital. Cybercriminals use various techniques to avoid detection and blend in with legitimate internet traffic. One of the most effective techniques is the use of criminal proxy services. These services allow attackers to route their traffic through a network of compromised devices, making it difficult for law enforcement agencies and security professionals to trace the source of the attack.

Criminal proxy services are widely available on the dark web, where they are advertised for sale to anyone with the means to purchase them. These services are also known as “bulletproof hosting” or “commodity proxy services” and are typically offered on a subscription basis. The prices for these services vary widely depending on the level of protection and anonymity they offer, ranging from a few dollars per month to several thousand dollars per year.

These services are offered by criminal groups worldwide and are often used to support a wide range of illegal activities, including hacking, malware distribution, and spamming. These services can also be used as a platform for launching additional attacks, making it even more difficult for security professionals to identify the source of the attack.

This blog post will take a deep dive into criminal proxy services. We will explore the various proxy commodity services that cater to criminal communities, including where they are advertised for sale, how much they cost, and what features these services offer. We will also discuss the risks of using these services and the challenges of detecting them.

By understanding how criminal proxy services work and how cybercriminals use them, security professionals can better anticipate and defend against these attacks. We will explore techniques for detecting these services, including machine learning and artificial intelligence, and provide practical advice for organisations looking to protect themselves from these attacks. So, join us as we flip the tables on attackers by learning how to detect these services and anticipate their use.

Why Cyber Criminals Use Proxy Services

Criminals are always looking for ways to evade detection, and one of the most popular methods they use is criminal proxy services. This blog post will explore why cybercriminals use these services.

Firstly, criminal proxy services provide anonymity to cybercriminals. Using a proxy server, they can hide their IP address and location, making it difficult for law enforcement agencies to track them down. Additionally, proxy services allow attackers to avoid detection by security systems that may block their IP addresses or flag their traffic as suspicious.

Another reason why cyber criminals use proxy services is to bypass geolocation restrictions. Many online services, such as streaming platforms, have country-specific content restrictions. Cybercriminals can bypass these restrictions and access content that may not be available in their country by using a proxy server in the desired country.

Furthermore, cybercriminals use criminal proxy services to access compromised devices and networks. Proxy services can route traffic through infected devices, making it easier for attackers to carry out attacks without being detected. Cybercriminals sometimes use proxy services to sell access to compromised devices on the dark web.

Overall, there are several reasons why cybercriminals use criminal proxy services. These services provide anonymity, bypass geolocation restrictions, and allow attackers to access compromised devices and networks. Understanding these reasons to combat cybercrime and effectively protect against these attacks.

The Different Types of Proxy Services

Proxy services are often used by cybercriminals to hide their tracks while carrying out malicious activities. These services allow criminals to obfuscate their IP address and location, making it difficult for authorities to track them down. Several proxy services are available, each with unique features and benefits.

One type of criminal proxy service is the anonymous proxy. These proxies mask the user’s IP address and location, making it difficult for authorities to track their activities. While anonymous proxies can effectively hide the user’s identity, they are not foolproof and can still be detected and blocked by more advanced security measures.

Another type of criminal proxy service is the high anonymity proxy. These proxies are similar to anonymous proxies, but they offer an additional layer of security by spoofing user agents and other identifying information. High anonymity proxies are often used in more sophisticated attacks where the attacker must remain undetected.

A third type of criminal proxy service is the residential proxy. These proxies are IP addresses associated with real devices in residential areas. Cybercriminals often use these proxies to make their traffic appear more legitimate and less suspicious. Residential proxies are also famous for evading geolocation-based security measures.

Finally, data centre proxies and IP addresses are associated with servers in data centres. Data centre proxies are often used for high-volume tasks like web scraping or automated account creation. While they can be used for malicious purposes, they are also used for legitimate purposes and are not inherently malicious.

Understanding the different types of criminal proxy services is essential for detecting and preventing cyber-attacks. By identifying the specific types of proxies used in an attack, security professionals can take more targeted measures to mitigate the threat.

The Features and Capabilities of Criminal Proxy Services

Criminal proxy services offer a range of features and capabilities that make them appealing to cybercriminals. These services provide a layer of anonymity and enable attackers to hide their actual location and identity while carrying out malicious activities.

One of the primary features of criminal proxy services is the ability to mask an attacker’s IP address. This is done by routing the attacker’s traffic through multiple servers in different locations, making it difficult for investigators to trace the source of the attack. Criminal proxy services also offer a range of options for selecting the location of the proxy server, allowing attackers to make it appear as though their traffic is originating from a different country or region.

In addition to IP masking, many proxy services encrypt the traffic passing through their servers. This makes it difficult for investigators to intercept and analyse the data, further enhancing the attacker’s anonymity. Some services also offer advanced features like session management, which allows attackers to maintain a consistent session across multiple IP addresses, and load balancing, which distributes traffic across multiple servers for improved performance and reliability.

Another key feature of these services is the ease of use and accessibility. Many services are available for purchase on the dark web or through other underground channels and can be set up and configured quickly and easily. Some services even offer user-friendly dashboards and customer support, making it simple for novice attackers to use them effectively.


The Risks and Dangers of Criminal Proxy Services

Using criminal proxy services poses significant risks and dangers to individuals, organisations, and governments. Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated in using these services to carry out illegal activities while remaining anonymous and untraceable.

One of the most significant risks of using criminal proxy services is that it can enable cybercriminals to evade detection and hide their identity. This makes it challenging for law enforcement agencies to track the criminals and bring them to justice. Additionally, criminals can use these services to launch attacks on their targets, resulting in significant financial losses, reputational damage, and even legal consequences.

Another risk is that criminals can use proxy services to distribute illegal content, such as child pornography, extremist materials, or copyrighted materials. This puts innocent individuals at risk of being exposed to illegal content and can also lead to legal consequences for those who inadvertently access such material.

Moreover, using criminal proxy services can result in devices and systems becoming infected with malware, which can then be used to launch further attacks or steal sensitive information. The criminals behind these proxy services may also use them to carry out phishing attacks or distribute spam, which can result in financial losses or reputational damage.

How to Detect Criminal Proxy Services

Detecting criminal proxy services can be challenging for even the most experienced cybersecurity professionals. Attackers often use these services to conceal their true identity and location, making it difficult to track them down. However, detecting and mitigating the risks associated with these services is possible with the right tools and techniques.

One of the most effective ways to detect criminal proxy services is by monitoring network traffic for suspicious activity. This can include unusual patterns of traffic, such as a sudden increase in traffic volume or traffic coming from unexpected sources. By analysing this traffic, security teams can identify potential proxy services being used to conceal malicious activity.

Another approach is to use threat intelligence feeds that identify known proxy services associated with criminal activity. These feeds can provide information on the IP addresses, domains and ports commonly used by these services. By blocking traffic from these sources, organisations can reduce the risk of attacks and limit the potential damage caused by cybercriminals.

Additionally, security teams can use machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies to detect criminal proxy services. These technologies can analyse large amounts of data to identify patterns and anomalies that may indicate using a proxy service. By training these models on global attack data, organisations can improve their ability to detect and respond to unknown threats.

Finally, regular vulnerability assessments and penetration testing can help to identify potential risks associated with criminal proxy services. By testing systems and networks for vulnerabilities, organisations can ensure they have the appropriate security measures in place to prevent attacks and mitigate the risks associated with criminal proxy services.

The Importance of Monitoring Network Traffic

Monitoring network traffic is essential to detect and prevent criminal proxy services. Network monitoring can provide insights into the type of traffic that’s flowing through the network, including the use of proxy services.

One effective network monitoring method is deep packet inspection (DPI), which involves examining the content of packets as they travel through the network. DPI can identify suspicious traffic patterns and anomalies that may indicate the use of a proxy service. For example, suppose a user is accessing a website hosted in a country other than their own, and they’re using a proxy service to do so. In that case, DPI can identify this traffic as potentially suspicious.

Another network monitoring method is to use security information and event management (SIEM) tools. SIEM tools can collect and analyse data from different sources to identify potential security threats. By analysing network logs and other data, SIEM tools can identify suspicious patterns that may indicate using a criminal proxy service.

It’s also essential to monitor outbound network traffic. Organisations can identify whether users access suspicious websites or communicate with known malicious IP addresses by monitoring outbound traffic. This can be accomplished through the use of firewalls and other security technologies.

In addition to monitoring network traffic, educating users about the risks associated with criminal proxy services is essential. Users should be trained to recognise a proxy service’s signs and report any suspicious activity to IT security personnel. By combining user education with effective network monitoring, organisations can reduce the risk of a successful attack using criminal proxy services.

Stay Ahead of Criminal Proxy Services with Regular Security Assessments

As cybercriminals evolve their techniques and tactics, organisations must remain vigilant in protecting their networks and systems. One effective way to stay ahead of the threat is by conducting regular security assessments.

Security assessments can help identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in an organisation’s security posture, which cyber criminals could exploit to access sensitive data or systems. By regularly assessing their security measures, organisations can proactively address any issues and reduce their risk of falling victim to an attack that uses criminal proxy services.

Organisations can evaluate their network infrastructure, systems, applications, and endpoints during a security assessment to identify vulnerabilities. This includes assessing the effectiveness of their existing security controls and evaluating their network traffic to detect any suspicious activity.

Regular security assessments also provide an opportunity to review and update security policies and procedures to ensure they remain practical and relevant. This includes reviewing access control measures, password policies, and user training programs to ensure they align with the latest threats and risks.

Organisations can also benefit from engaging a third-party security provider to conduct regular security assessments. These providers can offer a fresh perspective on an organisation’s security posture and bring a wealth of experience and expertise.

In conclusion, regular security assessments are essential to any organisation’s cybersecurity strategy. By identifying vulnerabilities and weaknesses in their security posture, organisations can proactively address any issues and reduce their risk of falling victim to an attack that uses criminal proxy services.

Free Subscription

The most comprehensive Cybersecurity agenda for leading industry executives

Connect and share niched and unique knowledge

Meet our 15-year experience in addressing international cybersecurity challenges

Register for The Conference
25th of May 2023