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Characterizing key stakeholders in an online black-hat marketplace

Farooqi, S; Ikram, M; De Cristofaro, E; Friedman, A; Jourjon, G; Kaafar, MA; Shafiq, Z; (2017) Characterizing key stakeholders in an online black-hat marketplace. In: Electronic Crime Research (eCrime), 2017 APWG Symposium on. (pp. pp. 17-27). IEEE: Scottsdale, AZ, USA. Green open access

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Abstract

Over the past few years, many black-hat marketplaces have emerged that facilitate access to reputation manipulation services such as fake Facebook likes, fraudulent search engine optimization (SEO), or bogus Amazon reviews. In order to deploy effective technical and legal countermeasures, it is important to understand how these black-hat marketplaces operate, shedding light on the services they offer, who is selling, who is buying, what are they buying, who is more successful, why are they successful, etc. Toward this goal, in this paper, we present a detailed micro-economic analysis of a popular online black-hat marketplace, namely, SEOClerks.com. As the site provides non-anonymized transaction information, we set to analyze selling and buying behavior of individual users, propose a strategy to identify key users, and study their tactics as compared to other (non-key) users. We find that key users: (1) are mostly located in Asian countries, (2) are focused more on selling black-hat SEO services, (3) tend to list more lower priced services, and (4) sometimes buy services from other sellers and then sell at higher prices. Finally, we discuss the implications of our analysis with respect to devising effective economic and legal intervention strategies against marketplace operators and key users.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Characterizing key stakeholders in an online black-hat marketplace
Event: 2017 APWG Symposium on Electronic Crime Research (eCrime)
Location: Scottsdale, AR
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1109/ECRIME.2017.7945050
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1109/ECRIME.2017.7945050
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Science & Technology, Social Sciences, Technology, Computer Science, Interdisciplinary Applications, Criminology & Penology, Computer Science
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10043015
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