You are probably aware of the Dark Web, a back channel of the internet where cybercriminals can sell the data they’ve gathered from data breaches. In fact, the Dark Web is between 500 and 5,000 times bigger than the internet you use every day. Have you ever considered whether your info might be up for sale there? Since 2005 there have been more than 4,500 data breaches reported and billions of individual records have been compromised. In fact, Yahoo saw all 3 billion of their users compromised during attacks in 2013 and 2014. There is a strong chance that a part of your identity has at one point been for sale!
Never fear, we have plenty of tips for you to prevent your information from being sold on the Black Market!
Medical Information and Insurance: $10The $3 trillion Healthcare Industry has outdated security and valuable information. Medical records are priced 10 times higher than Social Security numbers on the black market! Why so expensive?
Stolen medical information includes a person’s name, address, birthday, insurance information, and more. This is used to purchase expensive medical equipment and drugs for a profit. Buyers may also file fraudulent insurance claims for big payouts.
Take these steps to safeguard your medical information:
Netflix, Spotify, Hulu Accounts: $2-3You don’t have to travel all the way to the Dark Web for a $2 Lifetime Netflix subscription, just try bidding on one on eBay! Of course, if the victim of the stolen account changes their password or email you may be locked out – but no worries, many sellers of the subscription accounts offer warranties!
Keep cybercriminals guessing and change your passwords regularly. If you ever notice any suspicious activity on your accounts, changes in settings, or out of place suggested content, change your password immediately and report it.
Social Security Number: $1Your SSN is a bargain for shoppers on the black market. Without amazing credit, your Social Security Number just isn’t worth as much as your subscription accounts (unless bundled with your name and credit card information). But don’t put your guard down just yet; the damage done by a stolen SSN is much more stressful than having to cancel a subscription or changing a password. After all, you can’t just change your identity!
Since the Equifax Breach we have all become potential victims of identity theft. Cybercriminals managed to steal names, addresses, and the SSNs of millions of Americans. Make sure you monitor your credit report, never use the same password twice, keep your SSN card secure, and don’t give your SSN to an untrusted source. If you catch anything suspicious, report it!
Banking Information, Credit Card Numbers: $5The more information bundled together, the higher the price! A credit card number with CVV and software-generated information is worth $5, while a lone credit card number may only cost $1. Of course, if it’s known that the credit card comes with a high spending limit it will be worth much more to Dark Web shoppers.
Always review your monthly statement thoroughly and be sure you are the only one using your credit card for purchases. If your credit card goes missing or you suspect your information has been compromised, cancel that card immediately.
Total: $20On average, purchasing a person’s full profile of PII comes to a total of about $20. These prices may be lower than you expected. While your SSN may just be one measly dollar to whoever purchases it, it can cause many more dollars worth of damage to you.
No matter how much (or how little) your data is worth, you still need to protect it. Take our advice and keep your information to yourself! It might just keep your PII from being put on the Dark Web action block.