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Not everything on the dark web is illegal, but it is a huge marketplace for stolen data and personal information.
After a data breach or hacking incident, personal information is often bought and sold on the dark web by identity thieves looking to make money off your good name—and any numbers or information associated with you. From banking information to online streaming credentials, the extent to which our private and financial data is readily available to anyone willing to pay for it is downright scary.
The surge in data breaches, specifically those caused by organized crime, is driving the cost of lost or stolen records for companies, said Marc van Zadeloff, vice president of strategy and product for IBM security.
In the US alone, there were a total of 983 data breaches last year, a 37.5% increase from 2016, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. And according to the IBM report, 57% of breaches in its study were caused by a malicious or criminal attack.
But just how much is your information worth to criminals?
The answer may surprise you. The fact is various pieces of information may be more valuable to criminals than others, and it depends on a variety of factors.
- Social Security number: $1
- Credit or debit card (credit cards are more popular): $5-$110
- With CVV number: $5
- With bank info: $15
- Fullz info: $50 Note: Fullz info is a bundle of information that includes a “full” package for fraudsters: name, SSN, birth date, account numbers and other data that make them desirable since they can often do a lot of immediate damage.
- Online payment services login info (e.g. Paypal): $20-$200
- Loyalty accounts: $20
- Online Subscription services: $1-$10
- Diplomas: $100-$400
- Driver’s license: $20
- Passports (US): $1000-$2000
- Medical records: $1-$1000*
- *Depends on how complete they are as well as if its a single record or an entire database
- General non-Financial Institution logins: $1
How is this information purchased by identity thieves on the dark web?
There are three main ways that personal information is commonly bought and sold on the dark web:
1.Purchase data as a one-off, such as a Social Security number
2.Purchase bulk data, batches of the same types of information
3.Purchase bundled data, this is the “premium” package for identity thieves as it includes various types of information that are bundled together
What drives the cost of personal information on the dark web?
There are four main factors that drive the cost of information that’s bought and sold on the dark web:
- Type of data and the demand for that data: as mentioned above, different types of information can bring different monetary values.
- Supply of the data: the economic principle of supply and demand applies to criminals buying and selling stolen information. If there’s a lower supply of particular information available for purchase, then that information is more valuable to thieves.
- The balance of the accounts: whether dollar values or points in an account, the higher the amount that can be taken, the higher the cost of that stolen information.
- Limits or the ability to reuse: if something has a higher limit or can be reused multiple times, it’s more valuable to fraudsters. Alternatively, information that has low limits to use or steal and can only be leveraged once is less valuable.
So what can you do to protect yourself?
This may seem frightening or overwhelming, but it’s important to be aware of what is going on so you can protect yourself. While data breaches are on the rise and outside of your control, you can practice good habits for your own personal information like maintaining healthy password practices, and not sharing your personal information unless it’s necessary.
It’s also a good idea to make sure that you keep your antivirus software and software updates on all devices (computer, laptop, tablet, phone) current as those updates may include security patches that are important to protecting your information.
You can also check out identity protection products for yourself and your family. Products such as Experian IdentityWorks provide dark web monitoring, alerts and a view into your credit report and FICO® Score so you can keep an eye on things and get a heads up on potential red flags for identity theft. You can also run a free dark web scan on your email address.
Be Safe – Backup Your Data Regularly!
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