Town halls, media, businesses, and even hospitals: no one is safe from cyber hackers, on the lookout for the slightest computer flaw to ransom their prey. Since the start of the pandemic, attacks have intensified: 500,000 new viruses have been detected every day. Who are these pirates? What are their modus operandi?

“Further investigation succeeded in approaching a master in infiltration in a lawless area, where contacts are made between hackers: the darknet, the hidden part of the Internet where cyber delinquents gravitate anonymously.


What do we find on these “somewhat black marketplaces” ? With “Xylitol”, as our contact is called, a guided tour on very private forums. This is paid or accessible on co-option. Difficult for a layman to access it … Not for Xylitol, which was satisfied with “hack other pirates” and of “prick their accounts”.

“For sale: access to the Connecticut government website, $ 8,000”

Here, everything can be bought, everything is sold: services, data, access. This is where hackers cash in, more or less depending on the value of the data, what they have managed to hack. For sale that day, access to the sites of a “French box (hospital or clinic, we don’t really know)”, Italian municipalities or even the “Connecticut government” (8,000 dollars, or about 6,600 euros).

Tracking down cybercriminals is this shadow vigilante’s hobby. At home, he has all the necessary gear and has the same skills as those he hunts on a daily basis. In its servers, it stores the hundreds of thousands of computer viruses that it has already listed. A veritable bank of viruses which each contain the DNA of pirates, their signature. What to bring down more than one.


A virus bank and a hunting board that interest the FBI

The “Xylitol” hunting picture is impressive: he has identified and located several thousand pirates, all over the planet. And in this very closed environment, he didn’t just make friends. He received threats several times, like “We’re going to send you some crack and we’ll call the police.”

If the pirates threaten him, the secret services of several foreign countries court him. The FBI would have exchanged with him by email to ask for his help on certain malware and would have even tried to recruit him (“Xylitol” says not to have “never followed up“).

Extract from “Hackers: the new robbers”, a document to see in “Further investigation” on January 28, 2021.


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