Has Your Digital Identity Been Sold on the Dark Web for £40?
Ever wondered how much your digital identity is worth? Not that much according to recently published research.
While this figure may appear underwhelming it highlights the growing availability of sensitive information and the relatively cheap ways through which cyber criminals can access critical personal data.
Dark Web Identity
The research, which was carried out by Kaspersky Lab, claims to have “uncovered an appetite” among cyber criminals for data stolen from popular services – which includes social media accounts and remote access to gaming websites.
The cybersecurity firm also said that “user confusion” about what their data is worth could result in a “haphazard approach to security”, which ultimately makes it easier for thieves to steal data and commit offences.
Data stolen by cyber criminals may have limited resale value, the company said, but can still be put to use. This can cause massive problems for victims, who may lose money, reputation or find themselves being chased for debts incurred by someone else in their name.
Additionally, the company warned that victims could find themselves embroiled in criminal investigations due to a thief using their identity as a cover.
How Much is Your Data Worth?
Kaspersky Lab investigated Dark Web markets to establish how much your personal data is worth. The company’s researchers found that criminals can sell someone’s entire digital life at modest prices.
Popular services like Uber, Netflix and Spotify can be used by cyber criminals, along with dating apps and porn websites; all of which might store your credit or debit card information.
Most concerning is the price paid for a single hacked account, which is significantly lower. Most hacked accounts sell for less than one pound per account with some sellers even offering discounts for bulk-buying, the firm said.
Sophisticated cyber criminals also keep the interests of their clientele in mind, offering lifetime warranties so if one account stops working the buyer will receive a new account for free – excellent customer service.
David Jacoby, senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, said “it is clear” that data hacking is a major threat to web users, and this issue applies both at an “individual and societal level.”
“Stolen data funds many social evils,” Jacoby explained. “Fortunately, there are steps we can take to prevent it, including by using cybersecurity software and being aware of how much data we are giving away for free.”
Jacoby added that this is particularly important when using publicly available social media profiles or granting data access to companies.
How to Protect Yourself
One of the most common ways for criminals to steal this sort of data is through spear phishing campaigns, or by exploiting web-related security vulnerabilities in an application’s software.
Many people use the same password for several accounts, which also makes it easier for attackers to access secondary accounts and the details found within.
Kaspersky recommends several easy security steps, which it said should become an “integral part of any internet user’s digital life.”
Users should always check that the link address and the sender’s email are genuine before clicking anything, researchers said. Additionally, robust web security solution’s can warn you if you attempt to visit a phishing web page.
To avoid one data leak harming all of your digital identities, never use the same password for several websites, accounts or services. To create strong, hack-proof passwords one can also use password manager applications.