You've heard of the Dark Web, right? The online place where illicit activities take place? Unless you are a hacker or some other kind of cybercriminal, it's likely not an area of the internet you've ever ventured into.
But while you may not even know how to access it, plenty of other people do. Through it, people sell illegal drugs, launder money and commit all sorts of other crimes.
Unfortunately, due to its very secret and covert nature, it is often tough to track down and prosecute people who do their business via the Dark Web. And now, it appears as though the crimes they do commit could impact all of us.
If you log in, you are vulnerable
Most people nowadays log into at least a few sites for various reasons. Whether it's a subscription to music or video, paying bills or being able to shop, online accounts are simply a part of life.
Cybercriminals want those accounts because, with those details in hand, it will be easier for them to hijack your online identity. Sounds pretty bad, right? It sure could be.
Security experts from the U.K.-based Virtual Private Network found that people who intend to commit fraud are not just seeking your accounts, but finding them on the Dark Web. They aren't free, of course, but you may be surprised by how much it costs to become you.
It turns out an entire online identity, known on the Dark Web as a "fullz," can be bought for around $1,200. That usually gets a Social Security number and other personal details like birthday, maiden names of mothers and other information that can be used to impersonate you. Given what kind of damage can be done to your life with that, it doesn't seem like nearly enough.
Then again, that price is for everything; it's actually much cheaper to purchase information a la carte.
The security experts analyzed thousands of ID lists that were uploaded in early February, checking out three of the main Dark Web markets known as Dram, Point and Wall Street Market. In doing so, they discovered other popular site logins like Uber, Airbnb and Expedia are worth about $46, while a Gmail account is worth about $10 and a Match.com profile will run a shade less than $9.
Regardless of their values, certain logins are more often traded. PayPal accounts, which are valued at more than $700, are among the most dealt, while social media logins for sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are less popular at a cost of a little more than $10.
What can you do?
The disturbing thing is if you have an online account with anyone, you could eventually be a victim. It is important to try and only deal with secure websites and apps, and if not, two-factor user authentication will help.
What exactly is the Dark Web?
Is the Dark Web as scary as it sounds? Click below for Kim's two-part series on the lower depths of the internet:
Have a question about the Dark Web? Kim has your answer! Click here to send Kim a question, she may use it and answer it on her radio show. The Kim Komando Show is broadcast on over 450 stations. Click here to find the show time in your area.
Don't fall victim to this Facebook scam, either
The number of Facebook users in the world is staggering, over 2 billion. That's impressive! There are also more than 1.2 billion people using Facebook Messenger. These massive numbers make both services a prime target for cybercriminals. Click here to learn about the new scam that is targeting Facebook Messenger.