The underground economy of cyber criminals

Lucrative markets for stolen data and digital identities

Bitdefender, a leading security firm, has unveiled a comprehensive report shedding light on the operations of Dark Web marketplaces, exposing the disturbing reality of stolen data and the thriving business of cyber criminals. The report not only delves into the types of products and services offered on these illicit platforms but also emphasizes the need for consumer awareness and best practices to safeguard digital footprints.

The findings of the report paint a concerning picture of the value cyber criminals place on stolen consumer credentials:

  • Stolen credit cards are sold for a fraction of the balance that criminals often guarantee. For instance, a Visa Gold card with a CVV can be purchased for $US175, despite criminals claiming it has a balance of at least $US25,000.
  • Dark markets offer working SIM cards with anonymous numbers, enabling individuals to hide their identities. Shockingly, Bitdefender discovered four SIM cards being sold for just $US500.
  • Social media account credentials are in high demand among cyber criminals. For a mere $US20, one can purchase 500 million Facebook accounts, usually obtained through data breaches. Additionally, followers on platforms like Instagram can be bought, with 50,000 followers available for $US250.
  • Passports and other identification documents, both real and sophisticated fakes with chips, command significant prices. A US passport can fetch $US2,750 Euros, while an EU Biometric passport is valued at $US7,300.
  • Popular streaming services, often accessed through stolen accounts or accounts created using stolen credit cards, are available for a fraction of the cost of a legitimate subscription. As an example, three years of Netflix can be acquired for a mere 0.001 BTC, which amounts to approximately $US30 at current prices.

The report’s objective is to educate consumers about the alarming scope and scale of the criminal underground, highlighting how their personal information is procured, traded, and exploited. Furthermore, it provides essential guidance on best practices to safeguard one’s digital footprint and protect against potential cyber threats.

The revelations from Bitdefender’s report serve as a stark reminder of the ongoing dangers posed by cyber criminals. It underscores the urgent need for individuals to remain vigilant, implement robust security measures, and stay informed about emerging threats to safeguard their personal information from falling into the wrong hands.



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