Your SSN costs less than a Starbucks coffee on the dark web
According to the Atlas VPN investigation, Social Security number (SSN) costs as little as $4 on the darknet. Meaning, Venti latte at Starbucks costs 15 cents more than your SSN on the dark web.
You might think that sensitive details such as SSNs or credit card details should be expensive. That isn’t the case as cybercriminals steal data in bulk. It is not uncommon for a single cyberattack to steal millions of records.
Of course, to buy these ill-gotten goods, you will have to step into the dark web. The dark web is a place with network encryption, requires specific software to enter. Not only that, but most marketplaces require an invitation to get in. This way, cybercriminals protect themselves from unwanted attention.
Analysts started investigating prices on the dark web in 2017 and concluded their research In 2019. These are the average prices for the most popular products on the dark web: Flashpoint intelligence findings show that the services sold on the dark web can be divided into four main categories: stolen PII (personally identifiable information), stolen financial information, forged documents, and hacker services.
PII packages cost as little as $4. These packages usually include the victim’s full name, Social Security number, driver’s license number, passport number, and email address.
Passports are the most expensive
Financial details are a bit more expensive. Access details to a compromised bank account with a $10,000 balance cost $25. Interestingly, the price also depends on the victim’s credit score. The better the score, the higher the rate. Financial institutions view a good credit score favorably, which makes it easier to commit fraudulent transactions.
A wide variety of forged documents are available on the darknet: most popular ones - passports and driver’s licenses. Regarding passports, vendors offer three different options. The cheapest one is a digital copy of the passport, starting at $5.
Second, in terms of price are passport templates, which start at $18. Here, you receive a template of a passport where you can input the details. These types of forged passports are the most popular in the marketplace.
Finally, the most expensive and difficult to forge are physical passports. Prices range from $2,980 to $5,000, depending on which countries passport you need. US passports cost around 3,000 while less often requested ones, such as European passports, cost close to $5,000.
On to the last group of things for sale on the dark web - hacker services. Here, you can pay hackers to attack websites or even specific individuals. Prices depend on the length of the attack and the cyberattack type. A one-hour DDoS attack costs around $165. Attacking a government or bank website will cost 2-5 times more.
Services sold between hackers
Large hacker groups have developed innovative hacking technologies. Smaller groups or individual hackers can’t afford to build such software themselves.
Hence, there’s a demand for particular services, and they are selling on the dark web. Many organized crime groups (OCG’s) communicate with each other in secret forums on the dark web. To get in, one has to have a solid reputation and a recommendation from someone on the inside. In these forums, OCG’s can collaborate, share their newest technologies, and sell their services.
Analysts were unable to retrieve specific price ranges for these services. However, they were able to find what services vendors offer. The most popular services sold between hackers are:
- Counter Anti-Virus (CAV) service - You buy scripts and software that makes your malware unnoticed by most antiviruses. When sold, hackers specify against which antiviruses the software will work.
- Escrow services - These services act as a transaction intermediary between two parties. Sellers only get the money if the person buying is satisfied with the services provided.
- Money mule services - Money mules transfer money between multiple international accounts until it loses its origin and is successfully laundered. These mules also offer physical cash transportation services.
- Cryptor services - Similar to CAV, these services hide your malware from firewalls and other security software. The virus is encrypted and acts like a regular file.
If you ever get curious and wish to explore the darknet, do not forget to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Connecting to a VPN server will encrypt your traffic and hide your browsing activities from third parties. Your ISP or government agencies will lose track of you and have no way of knowing that you used the dark web.
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Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.