A new report by Intel Security Group's McAfee entitled "Hidden Data Economy" has revealed how much criminals will pay for data on the dark web. The report findings are based on years of close work with law enforcement, and ongoing monitoring of online platforms, communities and marketplaces where stolen data is hidden and sold – such as Alphabay and Crypto Market.
The report looks into how different types of data are dealt within the dark web. Financial data, like payment card information is made available on marketplaces wherein a price is demanded for access. Worryingly many sellers on these marketplaces deliver stolen card information with all the associated information, this information being your name, address, telephone number and date of birth. This hidden marketplace has also evolved to sell and rent cybercrime products. One such example is the selling of database vulnerabilities within different organisations, the report uses an airline website as an example. Criminals now also sell access to critical infrastructure systems, another example in the report is the selling of access to a French hydroelectric generator.
However a point to note is that some of the sellers in these pockets of the dark web are not genuine and often do not deliver on their promises of stolen data, often ripping their customers off and then vanishing.
The selling of identities is the most frightening aspect of the report. Here the Beebone botnet is mentioned which was taken down by police in Europe earlier this year. This botnet was made up of 12,000 computers and acted as a malicious software distribution platform. The report identifies further real examples of the type of identity data cyber thieves can obtain so much so that a criminal can take over an individual's digital life, social media, email and more. This report makes a point of highlighting how much data is readily available on you as an individual, whether it's data you yourself have placed out there via social media or data that is being stored on you by your bank, your doctor or your Netflix account and how easily this can all be obtained by criminals.
Medical information can also be obtained on the dark web, this is not as easy to obtain as payment card information but there are still sellers out there. Data is also being stolen and held prisoner in order to extort money to secure its release. In the digital world you can now demand a ransom for data , it is that valuable.