A Survey of Prices from the Dark Web

July 21, 2020

The Dark Web may not be the giant repository of badness that some popularizers of sci-fi assert, but it is a challenge for some enforcement professionals.

As important as our personal and financial information is to each of us, it can come as a surprise how cheaply some hacked data can be purchased on the Dark Web. After considerable research, Privacy Affairs illustrates this point in its “Dark Web Price Index 2020.” Reporter Miguel Gomez writes:

“The privacy offered by software such as TOR creates an environment where criminals can sell their wares on the dark web without the worry of law enforcement. What’s more, many will have heard the horror stories of people’s bank accounts being cleaned out, or their identity stolen and turning up in custody in Mexico. Again, not unjustified horror. You might be asking yourself, just how easy is it to obtain someone else’s personal information, documents, account details? We certainly were. Whilst there are many marketplaces on the dark web, there are even more forum posts warning of scammers. This makes verified prices difficult to obtain without ordering the items to find out, which of course we didn’t. Our methodology was to scan dark web marketplaces, forums, and websites, to create an index of the average prices for a range of specific products. We were only interested in products and services relating to personal data, counterfeit documents, and social media.”

The researchers compiled eye-opening lists of products and going rates; interested readers should navigate there to view the entire roster. A few examples: credit card details for an account with a balance of up to $5,000 for just 20 bucks; a hacked Twitter account for $49; a 24-hour-long DDoS attack against an unprotected website, at 10-50k requests per second, for $60. Considerably more expensive, though, are passports from the US, Canada, or Europe at $1,500 or quality malware attacks at 1,000 for $1,400 – $6,000.

The article includes a few interesting details alongside the prices, like the fact that vendors usually guaranteed 8 out of 10 stolen credit cards would pay off as advertised. Also, PayPal account details were very common and cheap, but actual transfers from a hacked account were more pricy. And apparently counterfeit bills are extremely common, with the highest quality ones costing about 30% of their fake value. They even come with a “UV pen test guarantee.” See the write-up for more curious, if concerning, details.

Cynthia Murrell, July 21, 2020

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