Chat app Discord becomes the next generation Silk Road

Discord logo - Featured image

The infamous dark web marketplace Silk Road might be dead, but its spirit has been resurrected in an unusual place – on a gaming chat app.

CBS News recently discovered an underground ring of cybercriminals selling illegal goods through a gaming network called Discord. Crooks have set up private groups and modified them to function like retail shops for a number of items, including stolen credit cards, logins for various websites, malware, and other hacking services. The hackers refer to these as “money servers.” 

American Express and Hilton Honors accounts are among the most commonly traded on these servers. 

Since Amazon and other online stores can detect criminal activity (especially when a new account starts making large orders), hackers have largely turned to spending loyalty points on hacked accounts to buy gift cards, subscriptions, and pretty much anything that can be flipped for profit.

A deeper look reveals money counterfeiters and cyberbullies offering doxxing services (an act of revealing someone’s home address and other sensitive data), and people selling SAT exams. Since some of these “shops” are extensions, or revivals, of their dark web counterparts, the money being used is the same – cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Monero and Etherium. The cybercriminals definitely work hard to cover their tracks.

Discord has been around since 2012 and gradually evolved from a simple chat app to a community-building tool and – for cybercrooks – a full-fledged digital marketplace.