In today’s digital age, your personal and professional information can easily become a commodity offered for sale on a powerful online marketplace, known as Dark Web.
Last year the Federal Trade Commission estimated that 9.9 million people were victims of identity theft, much of it taking place over the web hackers are crafty, and If it exists they online will collect and find a way to exploit it or sell it online on increasingly sophisticated and professional marketplaces located on the Dark Web.
Whether it’s the usernames and passwords for social media sites, or Social Security number and banking information, hackers collect all sorts of data to take advantage of lapses in security. They will even steal Netflix or Premium Cable passwords to get free access to the entertainment. They also use it to hack professional accounts and networks where administrators use the same passwords. Businesses that have large databases of information are especially at risk as they present an opportunity for Hackers to get huge bunches of data at one time.
In this one package available on a Dark Web marketplace there is information about 200,000 members of a web service, and being sold for nearly $2,100
Data is currently collected and moved between sources more than ever, not just be those trying to steal your information, but by big businesses looking to track your online habits, purchasing patterns and consumer identity. It’s this collection in part that has made it easier for more sinister people to take advantage of poor security practices, and led to the huge business of selling information on dark web marketplaces. Just like those business collecting your data, Hackers realize the value of information, and are willing to go to great lengths to get it.
Inside Look into the Dark Web eCommerce Shopping Experience
With all that stolen data floating around, hackers have transitioned from using it for themselves, and have begun to sell it to scammers online.
Since it is illegal to try and sell unauthorized data it is sold on the Dark Web. Besides special authorization and software to access, which allows users to interact anonymously via Tor browser, the overall experience is very similar to your traditional online shopping experience.
As Dark Web is becoming more sophisticated it is starting to adopt some of the principles of the traditional ecommerce retailers. They are offering “autoshop” experience coupled with anonymity. Some sellers even have refund policies!
In order to keep transactions anonymous the marketplace operates in Bitcoin, an unmarked and untraceable digital currency, and they often sell their goods at prices cheaper than you’d expect and with the ease of immediate download or shipment.
Platforms like these are so much more than just rudimentary command line setups or chat rooms. They offer many of the same features as online stores like Amazon or Ebay with vendor ratings, buyer feedback, detailed search options and facilitated transaction and delivery services. Collections of data are presented with detailed descriptions (similar to an ecommerce product pages), and some even provide tutorials on how to best utilize that data to scam victims.
Here is an example of the user-friendly design of one store found on the Dark Web, and how openly they shop the information of a yahoo user.
This is all too common in these marketplaces.
You can see just how easy it is for the Dark Web users to search for products by any number of qualities including category, product type, price, sale type, location and shipping options. The stores are designed to make shopping and buying as easy as possible for scammers and fraudsters.
Ways to Keep Accounts Safe
The boom in available personal information, the regularity with which is has been passed around, and the smooth auto shops on which it is sold, has created fast and easy ways for Hackers and scammers to access your information. This means it is easier than ever for scammers to steal your identity in order to access both private and professional information.
For businesses, this means you should take extra care to protect your information. It’s necessary to be vigilant in your security and develop consistent monitoring habits. Here are some tips for keeping your information safe:
Change Your Passwords Regularly:
- Changing passwords automatically makes much of what Hackers are selling unusable. The more often you change login information, the more positive you can be that no one is accessing your accounts.
Use Multiple, Complex Passwords:
- Employees that use similar logins for their company and private accounts open up their employers to being hacked. Encourage them to use several passwords with numbers, capitals and symbols that are unrelated to information like birthdays or addresses.
Keep Track of the Activity on Your Accounts:
- Many websites that hold personal information will alert you to unusual activity or logins to your accounts, but it is also important to keep an eye on it yourself, and make sure to investigate anything that appears out of the ordinary.
Monitor the Dark Web for Compromised Information:
- While difficult, it can be done, particularly be people that are trained to do so. A professional service can not only inform you when your information has been compromised, they can advise you as to where you system’s weaknesses might be and help to prevent a breach all together.
The more you do, and the stronger your security is, the less likely it will be that Hackers will be able to collect your data and sell it online. The threat of compromised information is always out there, and with online marketplaces as prevalent and easy to use as they are today, the threat is only rising. Keeping you and your business’s information safe is more important now than ever before.
DISCLAIMER: We do not take any responsibility for anyone using information provided in the article. The article is provided for education purpose
VeriClouds was founded by Rui Wang and Stan Bounev in 2014 to resolve the authentication security issues in Cloud Services. Information Security is not just a business opportunity. It is a calling, a passion, even an obsession. Rui and Stan joined forces to create ways to make the world more secure by making it safer to do business online. Rui has a Ph.D. in Cyber Security, and Stan is a successful entrepreneur with over 14 years of corporate and startup experience in the banking and technology industries.