Compromised Social Media Accounts More Valuable Than Stolen Credit Card Details

Hacked Social Media Accounts are now more valuable in the internet black market than stolen Credit Card details, revealed a new report.

Commissioned by Juniper Networks and compiled by National Security Research Division (RAND), the report titled ‘Markets for Cybercrime Tools and Stolen Data‘ has proven that seemingly non–financially sensitive data like Social Media Accounts are now worth much more to a buyer than illegally obtained credit card details. The report mainly discusses the ‘Economics of Hacking’, but goes on to show that Twitter Accounts are more prized than others.

More often than not, Security is breached with an intention to steal data for financial gains. Hackers routinely exploit loopholes or intentionally cripple a security system to lay their hands of large databases that contain multiple snippets of information of individuals. Financially sensitive data may include Credit Card Numbers, the home address of the user or any other authenticating information routinely sought by banks to verify the user.

Since time is of the essence with such illegally acquired data, hackers are willing to sell the same to the first willing buyer for prices ranging anywhere between US$20 and US$ 135 per account. But as the hours and days pass by, the prices usually plummet to as low as 75 Cents per account. This is because Credit Cards have a lot of inherent security features like locking or freezing the account and tracking the usage to trace the perpetrator.

On the other hand, hacked Social Media Accounts go for anywhere between US$ 16 to US$ 325+ depending on the type of account. This is because, unlike credit cards, Social Media accounts do not have such fail–safes. As long as the users of the accounts do not suspect foul-play, the accounts can stay alive and active, says SMU SMC.

Moreover, Social Media Accounts, being deeply woven into the fabric of society, offer rich data about the users. Additionally, these accounts can serve as a gateway to compromising other accounts as users routinely use the same login credentials across myriad platforms. If that’s not threatening enough, using these accounts, hackers can disguise their identity and steal data via phishing scams of people who are in contact with the holder of the compromised account.

Social Media security has now clearly become as important as financial security. While multiple internet companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google and others have introduced the two–step login process, it is up to the users to exercise caution and stay vigilant.

The entire report is accessible here.

[Image Credit | CNME]