The Dark Web is a maze of sketchy websites and questionable content, but there’s one subset of internet users that swear by it: cybercriminals. After all, where else can you buy a person’s entire digital footprint for pennies on the dollar?
Dark Web marketplaces are chock full of stolen accounts, passwords and profiles. But that’s not all — you can even find shops selling malware and hard drugs. Tap or click here for our detailed guide to the Dark Web.
Despite how easy it is to purchase stolen identities online, you’d think that the prices would be pretty high. But as it turns out, you can purchase someone’s entire digital life for less than $2,000! You won’t believe how much each piece of your personal data can sell for online.
The price is wrong, and so are the sellers
Let’s play a guessing game: How much do you think a stolen online bank account sells for on the Dark Web? How about a stolen credit card, a phony driver’s license or even a forged passport?
Believe it or not, you’re probably thinking a bit too high. According to security firm PrivacyAffairs.com, a stolen bank account login goes for approximately $35. Credit cards? $20. And as for driver’s licenses and passports, about $70 and $1,500 respectively.
How do we know? Well, it’s all part of PrivacyAffairs’ Dark Web Price Index, which documents exactly how much some of the most popular illegally-obtained data can cost on Dark Web marketplaces.
The research team gathered this data by crawling through some of the most popular marketplaces and hacker forums, which are often meeting points for the people behind phishing campaigns and other hacking operations. Wares for sale include stolen financial accounts, social media profiles and forged documents.
And if you’re hungry for fame and popularity, you can even buy social media followers to boost your visibility. It almost makes you wonder how some stars go viral so quickly, doesn’t it?
Here’s a breakdown of the most commonly available items and their costs:
By PrivacyAffairs’ estimates, the full digital footprint of one person costs about $1,285 on average. That’s less than $2,000 for your bank account, social media, PayPal and everything in between!
PrivacyAffairs stated that its goal was to illustrate just how easy it is to steal a person’s data. Not only does this price list put that concept into perspective, but it also shows that you don’t even need to be a hacker to ruin someone’s life online. Just being a Dark Web shopper is enough.
Is my data for sale online? What can I do to stay safe?
Data security is one of the most important digital issues of our time, but it’s largely in the hands of ordinary people, not software companies or governments. The steps we take to secure our own devices and accounts will go a long way towards protecting our privacy overall.
If you want to know whether your information was exposed in a data breach or other large-scale hack, HaveIBeenPwned is your best resource. This website, created by security researcher Troy Hunt, will show you if your email address and accounts have been part of any major leaks online — and the free service already contains nearly 10 billion records.
To see if your data was affected by a hack or breach, click here to visit HaveIBeenPwned. Here, you can enter your email address to check if your account has been included in any recent breaches.
If you’ve been exposed whatsoever, you should immediately change your email password. If you share that password with any other online accounts, hackers have a perfect opportunity to attack you across the web. To verify the security of your accounts, Google has a Chrome extension that will check your data against known leaked databases.
For further protection, you should also consider using an encrypted password manager like our sponsor Roboform. Not only does Roboform store your passwords with secure encryption, but it can also generate stronger passwords for you that are less likely to get cracked.
Next, you’ll need to start setting up two-factor authentication for all of your accounts that offer the feature. This will prevent a hacker from going any further without physical access to your phone, which means they will have wasted money buying your account from the dark web in the first place. Tap or click here to see how to set up 2FA.
Finally, personal information found on the Dark Web like this is an easy way for a criminal to steal your identity. That’s why it’s important to have an identity theft protection company that you can trust watching your back. There is just too much work involved in protecting your identity to do it yourself.
We recommend Identity Guard. For a limited time, Identity Guard is offering its Junkmail and Robobcall Stopper Add-on for free to Kim Komando listeners with the purchase of an Identity Guard plan.
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