Ransomware gangs are now rich enough to buy zero-day flaws, say researchers

Cyber criminals are becoming more advanced as they continue to find new ways to deliver attacks, and some are now willing to buy zero-day vulnerabilities, something more traditionally associated with nation-states. 

Knowledge about vulnerabilities and exploits can command a high price on underground forums, because being able to take advantage of them can be very profitable for cyber criminals. That’s especially if this involves a zero-day vulnerability that’s not known about by cybersecurity researchers, because attackers know potential victims won’t have had the chance to apply security updates to protect against it.

For example, in the weeks after Microsoft Exchange vulnerabilities were disclosed earlier this year, cyber criminals rushed to take advantage of them as quickly as possible, in order to benefit from the ability to carry out attacks before the security patches were widely applied. 

Zero-day vulnerabilities are usually deployed by well-resourced, nation-state backed hacking operations – but analysis by cybersecurity researchers at Digital Shadows details how there’s increasingly chatter on dark web message boards about the criminal market for zero-days. 

“This market is an extremely expensive and competitive one, and it’s usually been a prerogative of state-sponsored threat groups. However, certain high-profile cybercriminal groups (read: ransomware gangs) have amassed incredible fortunes in the past years and can now

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