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how the value of your data is shifting on the dark web

October 11, 2023

Everyone’s digital footprint is worth something, but what parts of your personal and financial information are rising in value like a blue chip stock, making them more attractive to thieves on the dark web?

Likewise, what pieces of data are those same criminals no longer coveting, causing a drop in both interest and value in the dark corners of the internet?

Privacy Affair’s 2023 Dark Web Price Index demonstrates these trends and helps separate the rising value products, such as ID cards, from the ones that are so common their value is almost literally a dime a dozen, like your PayPal or Hulu logins.

The index also shows us that while crypto as an industry is largely stagnant, crypto accounts are rising as fast as any piece of data on the dark web.

In addition, bulk data transactions are on the rise, which reflects that cybercriminals are looking for a higher return on their efforts.


Rising in value

Crypto accounts climb in value:

Crypto accounts are one of the few data categories to increase in value from 2022 to the first quarter of 2023, the price index reported.

Interest in cryptocurrency within the general public has declined in the last year or more, meaning there are fewer crypto accounts for hackers to target, making those accounts increase in value on the dark web, the price index said. Accounts on Kraken and Coinbase, for example, more than doubled in value on the dark web from 2022 to early 2023.

The potential payoff for cybercriminals is also driving up the price of hacked crypto credentials. Last year alone, hackers stole a record $4 billion in cryptocurrency.

And since cryptocurrencies are built on decentralized financial protocols, hackers can study the open-source code extensively and find vulnerabilities.

Other data on the dark web that saw large jumps in value, year over year, included forged documents. Driver’s licenses and ID cards are some of the most valuable items on the dark web, the report noted.


Dropping in value


Some of the most-common data on the dark web is also the least valuable and has dropped in price in 2023. Your HBO and Hulu accounts were never that valuable to begin with, about $4 or $5 on average in 2022, and they’ve dropped to about $2 this year.

Forged passports still have high value — about $3,000 for a French, Lithuanian or Netherlands passport — but the average cost has dropped about $800 from last year.

Credit card, banking and PayPal data is losing some of its dark web value as well.


Protecting your accounts

Activity on the dark web is only increasing. Earlier this year, dark web traffic climbed to hit 2.7 million visitors.

As activity continues to grow and thrive, people and businesses need to up their approach to cybersecurity. And they also can’t afford to presume the personal security practices of their employees aren’t their problem.

Hackers will get in any way they can — and that’s often through weak security measures by associates.

Here are some ways you can improve your cybersecurity:

1. Provide employee training (and retraining)

  • Prioritize effective security training for all employees.
  • Research shows that over 60% of people would plug in an unknown thumb drive, posing a security risk.
  • Training helps employees recognize and avoid security threats like phishing emails and suspicious websites.

2. Use password best practices

  • Use multifactor authentication or biometric screening.
  • Educate employees on safe password practices.
  • Prohibit the use of business emails for personal registrations.
  • If credentials are compromised, they should never be reused.

3. Build a privleged access management strategy

  • Define who has access to what systems and for how long.
  • Keep track of credentialed users to monitor and prioritize security.
  • By default, access to all privileged systems should be restricted.
  • Make privilege temporary: Revoke privileged access when roles change or access is no longer needed.
  • Limit sharing: Create individual accounts for users rather than sharing credentials (especially for admin accounts).
  • Train for security: Help employees understand why security practices are necessary and not just a burden. Use ethical tests to reinforce safe practices.
  • Automate PAM: Use automated tools to reinforce security standards and monitor activity 24/7.


How Wipfli can help you

Wipfli’s cybersecurity team can help safeguard your digital information and security, checking password strength, analyzing exposed data and more. Learn more about how Wipfli can improve your cybersecurity.

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