The average internet user’s personal identity can be bought for just £820 on the dark web.
This ranges from everything between Netflix accounts to bank details. The research found that while bank details will fetch in the vicinity of £168 and Paypal logins around £280, many important personal details are changing hands at a much lower price point.
The study was conducted by Top10VPN.com’s team of security experts who reviewed tens of thousands of listings on three of the most popular dark web markets, Dream, Point and Wall Street Market.
The average person has dozens of accounts that make up their online identity – all of which can be hacked and sold. Dark web bidders can get hold of your passport details for as little as £40, while access to online shopping accounts such as Amazon and Tesco are rarely worth much more than £5. Even eBay accounts with their broad scope for fraud fetch just £26 on the dark web.
Vital communications services, like Skype and T-Mobile, are worth considerably less than a tenner each. With these details, fraudsters could send messages containing phishing links to trusted contacts or get around security features that rely on SMS verification.
On the dark web, even logins to dating sites like Match.com are valuable, and tend to earn bidders on average £2.24 – allowing criminals to ‘catfish’ potential matches, sparking up relationships to manipulate people for financial gain.
And while some of us may place social media at a higher value than a hot meal, accounts such as Twitter and Instagram are among the least valuable on the dark web – although they do provide a useful backdoor to fraudsters planning to commit identity theft.
Simon Migliano, head of research at Top10VPN.com, commented: “It might come as some surprise that on the dark web your entire personal identity can be bought for significantly less than the price of a new iPhone X.
“There’s a real concern that with such valuable information changing hands so cheaply, there’s nothing to prevent would-be fraudsters from buying up much as they can in the hope of striking it lucky and draining victims’ bank accounts and credit lines.
“What’s interesting though is that everything seems to have a price on the dark web. This is because it’s not just hacked Paypal accounts and credit cards that represent opportunities for fraud. Many other online accounts contain enough personal info to enable identity theft. It’s also increasingly normal to store payment details in online shopping accounts.
“Some of the accounts we found for sale open the door to even more ingenious scams. A hacked Airbnb account, for example, could allow a scammer to pocket hundreds in booking fees or even stay at high-end properties as a guest and burgle the hosts. At less than £6 initial outlay, that’s very appealing to a cybercriminal.
“Our research is a stark reminder of just how easy it is to get hold of personal info on the dark web and the sheer variety of routes that fraudsters can take to get hold of your money. This really underlines the importance of two-factor authentication and more generally, secure use of websites and apps.”