Level 30
Feb 4, 2016
Operating System
Windows 8.1
Discord is Top IM App Among Dark Web Cyber-Criminals

Despite not supporting end-to-end encryption, the Discord service is insanely popular among Dark Web cyber-criminals, nine times more popular than the second-ranked Telegram app, according to a report released this week by Dark Web threat intelligence firm IntSights.

The data in this report tracked and recorded all IM invites shared on popular Dark Web cyber-crime platforms between July 2016 and July 2017, in an effort to gauge IM usage among cyber-criminals.

IM usage among cyber-criminals increased 30 times
First and foremost, the study's results showed a whopping 30-times increase in IM app usage among cyber-criminals.

Your first thought would make you believe this was a result of the takedowns of three popular Dark Web marketplaces — AlphaBay, Hansa, and RAMP — but this is not so, as these takedowns took place in July, right at the end of the study's data collection period, having limited impact on the final result.

This shows that the Dark Web cyber-crime community moved toward IM applications on its own, unaffected by the lack of trading platforms, but choosing mobile apps due to their commodity.

Discord nine times more popular than second-ranked Telegram
Remarkable was the popularity of the Discord app among cyber-criminals, a service that bluntly refused to support end-to-end encryption, exposing crooks to law enforcement requests for user data.

"Discord’s popularity is surprising, given that it is one of the smaller mobile messaging app platforms with 45 million users," IntSights experts noted.

As the graphic below shows, Discord is not a current fad but was always a favorite among cyber-criminals during all the study's data collection period.