Never give out your social security number, right? Secure your credit card information. This is what we’re told to do in order to protect our online identity. Not exactly. There’s a lot more to your online identity that you might realize, and it can be bought for a lot less than you’d imagine.

The dark web… that mystical, far away land that’s as close as your backyard. Where black-market vendors set up stalls and deal your data day in and day out. If you’re like me, you’d think that since it costs so much to fix identity theft, it must cost a lot to acquire the stolen data in the first place. But we’d be wrong. In fact, on average, your entire identity can be bought for around $1,100. And that’s a lot more than your social security number and debit card.

What factors determine the cost of information?

The same factors that determine the price of anything on the open market… supply/demand, initial value of the data, and recurring value of the data.

  • Different types of data can drive different values.
  • More hacks and security breaches increases supply, driving cost down.
  • Higher monetary balances bring in higher prices.
  • A single-use login will be worth less than data that can be reused multiple times.

What kinds of data is sold and how much is it worth?

There are several companies that study and monitor the dark web economy so while there isn’t an exact figure, I’ve put together some ranges based on the research:

Personal finance data – $500-$1000

Online shopping logins – $140-$180

Credit card number (varies based on the amount of supporting information) – $15-$85

Drivers License – $20

Email login – $5-$15

Social Security Number – $1-$2

General non-financial logins – $1-$2 

To be more specific, here’s the going rate for a login to one of these companies:

PayPal – $247

Grubhub – $9

Uber – $7

Facebook – $5

Gmail – $1

Did you see that? Your entire email history is work a buck. All of your Facebook data is worth a fiver.

What can you do to protect yourself?

Protect your passwords. Protect your passwords. And protect your passwords. This is rule number 1, 2, and 3. And don’t use the same password for everything. And change your passwords regularly and when something looks fishy. Here’s some healthy password practices from Experian.

Keep your software updated on your phone, tablet, and computer.

Sign up for security alerts on any account you have that offers that service. 

Consider credit monitoring.

Keep in mind, even with the best of security practices, you can’t control online data breaches, so be mindful, know your finances, and check out anything that looks fraudulent.

At High Road, we take security seriously, utilizing several methods of control for password generation and storage, encryption, and website security monitoring. If you need some tips or ideas on how to better secure your website or passwords, give us a call.

Sources:

https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/you-are-only-worth-this-much-on-the-dark-web/

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2018/02/02/heres-how-much-your-personal-information-is-selling-for-on-dark-web.html

https://businesstech.co.za/news/technology/199462/heres-how-much-your-identity-sells-for-on-the-dark-web/

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/spooked-by-the-facebook-privacy-violations-this-is-how-much-your-personal-data-is-worth-on-the-dark-web-2018-03-20