How much your personal information sells for on the Dark Web

What happens with your most sensitive information when cybercriminals get their hands on it? It goes up for sale on the Dark Web, of course.

In 2021 alone, companies like Microsoft, Mastercard, LinkedIn and most notably Facebook have all been subject to cyberattacks that saw the personal information of millions being leaked.

These breaches are alarming, and evoke uncertainty about how secure our information is with even the largest and most trusted names in the digital world.

What exactly is the Dark Web?

First founded in 2000 in the form of Freenet, the notion of the Dark Web began as a decentralised online platform free from government censorship.

From its inception it attracted users who sought more privacy than the traditional internet could offer as it enabled users to interact anonymously.

This need for privacy was revolutionised by the creation of Tor in 2002.  Tor is a network that performs various encryptions and redirections that make users virtually untraceable with the specific aim of avoiding government surveillance because, believe it or not, online government ‘spying’ was already a big deal in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Malicious intent, however, was not central to the motivations of the early users and creators.

In fact, one of the first things called for when Tor gained traction was the ability for people under oppressive regimes to be allowed access to the Dark Web so they could browse and interact without censorship.

It was at this point that the ability to bypass government firewalls came into the fold and as you may guess, gave considerable freedom for those seeking to take advantage.

A central concern remained the potential for transactions to be easily traceable by governments. That was until 2009 and the creation of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin’s increased privacy compared to centralised currency paved the way for illegal marketplaces to spawn around the Dark Web and until today these marketplaces are where the illicit trade of various goods and services are hosted, such as, for example, the trade of personal information of those subject to data breaches.

Vendors, storefronts and alarming ease of access

The vendors in many of these marketplaces seem quite casual about their trade.

These storefronts, as one example below shows, seem almost like those you would find on your average second hand website like Gumtree or Ebay and appears unaware of the fact that it is trading illegal information worth millions.

dark-web-vendor-profile

These nefarious platforms even have review systems similar to those on standard online stores:

dark-web-vendor-feedback

In my research I was somewhat disconcerted at the ease with which I was able to gain access to the Dark Web.

The platform looked similar to a standard Internet Explorer that could be navigated quite easily and explored with limited forum research and a bit of time spent clicking back and forth.

The apparent ease with which these vendors are able to sell their goods and buyers are able to access them is quite frightening and could be cause for concern over the widespread use of cryptocurrency, which is the backbone of this underground economy.

Most of these marketplaces are transitioning to the Monero cryptocurrency, which provides even more privacy than Bitcoin.

Yet, notwithstanding the ability for illicit trade created by the Dark Web, crime will exist as much without the internet and crypto as with it, and the most we as everyday users can do is to be certain our personal data is secure.

A deep dive into the illicit marketplaces on the dark web done by Zachary Ignoffo for Privacy Affairs reveals the average prices your information sells for.

The table below is as updated on May 9 2021.

Dark Web Price Index
Category Product Average Price (ZAR)
Credit Card Data Cloned Mastercard with PIN R350
Cloned American Express with PIN R500
Cloned VISA with PIN R350
Credit card details, account balance up to $1,000 (R14,110) R2,100
Credit card details, account balance up to $5,000 (R70,547) R3,400
Stolen online banking logins, minimum $100 (R1,411) on account R560
Stolen online banking logins, minimum $2,000 (R28,219) on account R1,700
Hacked (Global) credit card details with CVV R500
Payment processing services Stolen PayPal account details, minimum $100 (R1,411) R420
Stolen PayPal account details, minimum $1,000 (R14,110) R1,700
PayPal transfers from stolen account, $100-$1,000 (R1,411-R14,110) R700
PayPal transfer from stolen account, $1,000 – $3,000 (R14,110-R42,328) R4,800
PayPal transfers from stolen account, $3,000+ (R42,328+) R2,550
Stolen PayPal account details, no balance R200
50 Hacked PayPal account logins R2,800
Crypto Accounts Hacked Coinbase verified account R8,600
Crypto.com verified account R4,200
Blockchain.com verified account R4,400
Binance verified account R5,800
Social Media Hacked Facebook account R920
Hacked Instagram account R630
Hacked Twitter account R500
Hacked Gmail account R1,100
Instagram followers x 1000 R70
Spotify followers x 1000 R30
Twitch followers x 1000 R70
LinkedIn company page followers x 1000 R170
Pinterest followers x 1000 R60
Soundcloud plays x 1000 R15
Twitter retweets x 1000 R350
Instagram likes x 1000 R70
Hacked Services Uber driver hacked account R200
Uber hacked account R110
Bet365 account R700
Netflix account – 1 year subscription R620
Various adult site accounts R60
Canva Pro yearly R85
Adobe Creative Cloud 1 year R2,250
eBay account with good reputation (1,000+ feedback) R14,100

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How much your personal information sells for on the Dark Web