Digital encryption should be a priority for anyone looking to safeguard their data, given how cheap personal information is sold in dark web marketplaces as revealed in a recent study. identity theft protection
The sage advice has been issued by Miklos Zoltan, the CEO and Founder of cybersecurity and data privacy specialist Privacy Affairs, based on a review of the Dark Web by their experts.
Their Dark Web Price Index 2022, drawn from data scanning dark web marketplaces, forums, and websites, showed criminals could acquire credit card details and online banking login information for as little as $50.
The research revealed that hackers on dark web forums sell stolen data, such as:
- Credit card details and associated information. Cost between $17–$120;
- Online banking login information costs $65;
- Hacked Facebook account: $45;
- Cloned VISA with PIN: $20;
- Stolen PayPal account details, minimum $1000 balances: $20.
- A full range of documents and account details allowing identity theft can be obtained for $1,010
Fraudsters can buy credit card details, including CVV number, card number, and associated dates, enabling them to penetrate the credit card processing chain and override security measures.
The sheer volume of sales being shifted on the Dark Web is even more concerning – underpinning the call for more innovative safeguards for online personal information.
Over 9,000 vendors are selling fake IDs and credit cards in their thousands, while more bogus credit card data, personal information, and documents were sold in 2022 than in 2021. August 2022 alone saw 4.5 million credit cards up for sale.
Privacy Affairs teams unearthed the average rate for a cloned VISA with a PIN was $20, while hacked web and entertainment services, from Uber to Netflix, ranged up to $40.
Mr Zoltan, founder and CEO of Privacy Affairs, commented: “The digital world provides greater opportunities for hackers, scammers and fraudsters to take advantage of lax personal security online. The sheer volume of sales on the Dark Web and how cheap information should be a major concern. Everyone should be taking more precautions to protect their digital footprint.”
How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft protection
There are many ways to get hacked but many ways to prevent it. You can discourage unwelcome visitors to your accounts at home or in the office by using these recommendations.
If identity theft is your major concern, use the following tips to reduce the chance of unwelcome visitors.
Avoid public or unsecured WiFi identity theft protection
If you’re in a coffee shop or anywhere else you don’t trust network security, use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt all communications. This might seem to be a hassle. But if an attacker has access to an unencrypted network that you’re using, it’s easy to view your account data and steal or alter your information.
Use safe ATM practices
Your local ATM is the doorway to your valuable personal data. Here are some ways to prevent it from giving cybercrooks the “Open sesame!”
Check for ATM skimmers. Skimmers are devices placed over an ATM. They are often replicas of the card reader, but their wiring sends your card information to a hacker, not your bank. Check for ATM skimmers by:
- Pressing around the sides of the card slot. You’re looking for anything that feels loose. Skimmers are delicately mounted, so they’ll move when pressed with light pressure.
- Checking for glue or tape around the edges. If you see any sticky material, stay away from the ATM and call the bank.
- Stopping the transaction. If you have difficulty putting your card into the ATM, stop trying and report the situation to the bank.
Check for fake keypads. Fake keypads are sometimes placed over legitimate ones to record your PIN. They’re also very loosely mounted. So, if the keypad jiggles around a bit, or if you notice the keypad is off-center, stop using it and contact the bank.
Keep your information private identity theft protection
ATMs are only one of many ways to reveal sensitive account information.
Don’t give sensitive information over the phone. Period. Even if the information is required for an important process such as signing up for Social Security or a new driver’s license. If possible, transfer the information in person.
Use anti-malware tools. Install anti-virus or other anti-malware software on your personal computer to check for malware. Then, make sure to set the update period to Automatic.
Practice Account and Password Hygiene
Anywhere you store personal data is a potential entry point for cyber attackers. Here are some ways to prevent illegal entry into your data stores.
- Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts. This is the easiest way for an attacker to access your accounts. When a major list of account details is dumped on the dark web, your account details can be checked against other services such as email or banking, and you don’t want them to use the same password.
- Delete accounts you don’t use anymore. Cyberattackers can compromise old information or use it in password resets or similar attacks. This is especially risky if you reuse passwords on multiple accounts.
Use a password manager. Software such as LastPass or Keepass can make it easy to use extra-strength passwords for all your accounts. (All you need is to remember a master password.) Better yet, many are free.
Rules, rules, rules! These guidelines might seem to be complicated, a real pain.
However, when you get used to following them, they’ll become second nature. That’s when you develop a sense of vital cybersecurity online and in daily life.
Why This Data is Important
You might be wondering what all these (admittedly nerdy) details mean to you. It’s true, Dark Web market data might not provide most people with useful insights.
However, the overall message should be clear. Your data is valuable to cybercrooks, and it doesn’t cost much to steal your identity or otherwise exploit you.
The sheer quantity of data available for purchase has created a bulk sales mentality for Dark Web customers.
The sad truth is that the growing supply of personal information on the Dark Web makes it cheaper—and therefore more likely—that your accounts will be hacked.
So, the chance of your getting hacked is unpredictable but growing unless you protect yourself.
Adopting a few simple rules and habits will make it harder for hackers to get your data and easier for you to get out of their crosshairs.