It is quite easy to buy in dark web marketplaces any kind of illegal product and service, including fake certifications and diplomas.
According to Israeli threat intelligence firm Sixgill, certifications and degrees are very cheap and it is possible to hire hackers to break into the university computer systems and alter grades. Sixgill identified several hackers that could be hired to compromise systems at the University in order to change grades and remove academic admonishments.
According to the experts, this is a profitable business for hackers and the market of fake diplomas is booming.
As Sixgill CEO and CoFounder, Avi Kasztan says, “Cyber criminals have created a digital marketplace where unscrupulous students can purchase or gain information necessary to provide themselves with unfair and illegal academic credentials and advantages” told TheNextWeb.
Researchers from Sixgill have identified multiple vendors offering for sale degrees and accreditation, and the quality of the documents in some cases it high.
Sixgill report a case of a seller offering a fake London Metropolitan University diploma that claims the quality of the paper and the embossed seal, and how it’s the “identical size to the original”.
According to the vendor, such kind of document is “Perfect to be used at places where they just do a cursory inspection (eg: where they just look at the seal and appearance of the degree itself, without doing any cursory checks).”
Of course, crooks have in their product portfolio the fake degrees from most prestigious institutions like Oxford University, Cambridge University, and Harvard, but the researchers highlighted that the majority of them are from ordinary schools (i.e. Liverpool John Moores University, Middlesex University, and the University of Northern Iowa).
Crooks also offer many other types of counterfeit documents, including drivers licenses and passports, and fake professional certifications.
As usual, buyers can use the Bitcoin for payments, prices for fake diplomas range from $200-400, and most of the markets that offer them also give to the user an escrow service.
Sixgill also reported the case of an alleged hacker who was searching for a skilled hacker to “… change a few notes in my university system.”
In one forum thread, a student was recruited to physically access the teacher’s computer to insert an infect an infected USB in order to install a Keylogger.
Sixgill also discovered the sale of a guide on how to hack university grading systems, the document was offered for just $15.
(Security Affairs – iCloud Keychain, hacking)