An Inside Look at the Rise of Cyber Mercenaries

  • By Steven
  • Jul 27, 2022

It wasn't long ago when the term "mercenary" was limited to soldiers on the field of traditional battle. The battleground has partially shifted to the digital realm. Some modern-day battles are fought between nation-states and other adversaries on the internet. Those with hacking skills now have the opportunity to work as mercenaries for hire, albeit illegally, unless in a formally recognized capacity for a nation-state.

What is the Atlantis Cyber-Army? 

A collection of cyber mercenaries called the Atlantis Cyber-Army is led by a colorful figure and team of administrators that provide a litany of criminal services. The collective offers distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, data leaks, RDP, and other cyber offensives for financial compensation. RDP is an acronym short for remote desktop protocol.

The labor shortage has clearly made its way to the realm of digital deviance, as evidenced by the mere fact that the Atlantis Cyber-Army exists. As a result, it is now possible for criminal enterprises and even spiteful individuals to pay for hackers for hire, shifting some of the legal liability for the attack to the hacker while retaining anonymity. Even one-time network penetration services are available for the right price.

Cyber mercenary groups typically search for intelligent individuals with tech skill sets who can be relied upon for performing specific cybercrime missions. They perform these missions at a flat rate without significant forewarning. In some cases, several hackers are involved in a single attack, such as a RaaS or ransomware-as-a-Service attack. Each hacker receives a cut of the money, ultimately benefitting the greater good of the hacking collective.

The grouping of hackers presents an opportunity to provide a full menu of services instead of a single specialty. Atlas has quickly expanded to a litany of online attack options that zero in on businesses and governmental assets in nations spanning the globe. Hacking collectives such as Atlas have been known to zero in on targets in the United Arab Emirates, Israel, the United States, and Colombia. If you have not yet updated your digital security defenses, seize the opportunity to do so now.

How do Hacking Collectives Communicate?

For the most part, hacking groups use Telegram to communicate. These collectives use several channels on the platform to transmit information and conduct business. Specific channels are used to detail contracts, attacks, and responsibilities. There are even online stores where mercenary hackers sell services.

Do the Hacking Groups Have Structure?

Indeed, there is a hierarchy to most hacking collectives in which newbie hackers work their way up as time progresses, progressing toward the top of the group hierarchy. Lower-level hacking jobs are given to newer members and inexperienced members.

How Affordable are Cyber Mercenaries?

Hackers available for hire are known to charge as little as $20 to target a specific individual. Though data leak services tend to cost more than a one-time targeting of a person or enterprise, most such attacks are within the price range of a motivated individual.

Comparably complex hacks and attacks are priced higher, often reaching four to five figures or even more. Some such hacking collectives even go as far as providing VIP services that track down precise information about targeted individuals.

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