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Internet Black Market

Internet Black Market | Business Identity Theft

The Internet Information Black Market

Your confidential personal and business information for sale... 

Confidential%20business%20and%20consumer%20information%20is%20sold%20on%20a%20daily%20basis%20through%20black%20market%20websites%2C%20secret%20chat%20rooms%2C%20and%20underground%20forums. Bookmark and Share

Since 2005, when watch groups started keeping track of U.S. data breaches, more than 607 million confidential records have been lost, stolen, improperly disposed of, or accidentally exposed to the world.1  A "record" can be in electronic form or a physical file, and can be a Social Security number, bank account number, medical file, login credentials, debit/credit card number, and other such sensitive information. To put that number into perspective, that is nearly 2 records for every man, woman, and child in the United States. In 2011 alone, there were 855 reported data breaches in the United States that collectively exposed 174 million confidential consumer and business records.2

So, where does all of that information go?

In some cases, it may go nowhere - or at least not into the hands of the criminally inclined. The information may be recovered, or may not have been accessed by unauthorized persons. Unfortunately, however, that is not always the case as information has become the new gold.

Whether it occurs through loss or theft, hacking, spyware and crimeware, or human error, the ongoing exposure of confidential consumer and business information through data security breaches fuels a thriving internet black market in which this sensitive information is traded, sold, and re-sold on a daily basis through online black market websites, secret chat rooms, and underground forums.

The stolen information obtained through these sources is then used to defraud unsuspecting consumers and businesses.

Cash or Credit?   An example Internet information black market website

Many organized cyber-crime rings and entrepreneurial thieves operate convenient websites as complex and sophisticated as any legitimate online business. To illustrate how sophisticated some of these information black market websites can be, and what information may be available, consider the following example of an actual black market website.

Image 1 - Bank accounts for sale
Banking information for sale
Click to enlarge

Through this website, obtaining the information necessary to relieve an unsuspecting victim of their checking or savings account balances was very easy, with the cost typically established as only a small percentage of the current account balance. This site even provided a convenient cafeteria menu of various banks and financial institutions for its customers to select from. Click image 1 at right to enlarge.

Note that this site offered both personal and business accounts. What if that was your business banking information that was being offered for sale for a bargain cost of only 5% of your total account balance?

The criminals operating this site even boldly proclaimed "...the account holder will know it only when all is over."

Image 2 - Credit cards for sale
Credit cards for sale
Click to enlarge

For thieves that prefer to deal in credit cards, this site also offered additional options and special packages to its clients and customers. Many of the account information packages available here included not only the account numbers, but also the cardholder's PIN number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, and more - all reasonably priced between $15 and $30. Click image 2 at right to enlarge.

This site was merely one of an endless number of similar underground outlets that are active at any given time.

Do you know how to protect your business?
Do you know what to do if you are a victim of business identity theft?

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Data theft and cyber-fraud are
big business

Cybersecurity firm Symantec estimates that cyberthieves steal data worth $114 billion a year.

By comparison, the FBI said the take from all bank robberies in the U.S. in 2010 was a mere $43 million. The global market in cocaine is an estimated $85 billion, according to the United Nations.

Source:   Riley, Michael. Stolen credit cards for $3.50 onlineBloomberg, February 16, 2012

How much is my information worth on the internet black market?

How much could your personal or business banking and credit information be sold for? The answer might surprise you...
According to the January 2011 Panda Security report, "The Cyber-Crime Black Market: Uncovered," here are some of the current going rates:

      Payment & Banking Information      Price
  Credit card details    From $2 - $90 
  Bank credentials   From $80 to $700 with guaranteed balance
  Bank transfers & check cashing   From 10% to 40% of the total
  PayPal credentials   $10 & up with no guaranteed balance
  Online store & payment platform credentials   From $80 to $1500 with guaranteed balance
  Physical (cloned) credit cards   From $190 + cost of details
  Services & Equipment to Commit Fraud   Price
  Card cloners   From $200 to $1000
  Fake ATM machines   Up to $35,000
  Design & publish fake online store or website   Varies based on project scope 

Source: Panda Security."The Cyber-Crime Black Market: Uncovered," January, 2011

Credit card information for sale on the Internet black market
Consumer and business bank account information for sale on the Internet black market

1 Privacy Rights Clearinghouse  - Chronology of Data Breaches
2 Verizon Business  - "2012 Data Breach Investigations Report," March 2012

Article source: Barnett, Michael. The Consumer Identity Theft Protection Manual. 2010. Excerpted with permission.
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