Why a hacked Twitter account is worth more than a stolen credit card
Twitter is becoming the channel of choice for hackers, according to a new RAND Corporation report that suggests stolen account information can fetch more money than credit cards on the cybercrime black market.
Published Friday, March 28, 2014 9:55AM EDT
Twitter is becoming the channel of choice for hackers, according to a new report that suggests stolen account information can fetch more money than credit cards on the cybercrime black market.
The RAND Corporation report says a December 2013 breach, in which 70 million Target customers had their data stolen, flooded the black market with credit card information.
"Within days, these customer records started to appear on underground forums—or hacker black markets," according to the report titled “Markets for Cybercrime Tools and Stolen Data.”
Immediately after a large breach, newly-acquired credit cards can fetch a high price, as it's likely they're still active. But after time, the report notes that prices fall "because the market becomes flooded," and "the data becomes stale."
One expert cited in the report describes a price drop of $15 to $20 per record down to 75 cents over a short period of time.
On the other hand, the value of stolen social media account information is on the rise.
The report found that Twitter accounts can be worth between $16 and $325 or more, depending on the user's network size.
Since it's common to use similar usernames and passwords across social networks, hackers could often also gain access to other websites where they could access even more data.
In the wake of the National Security Agency spy scandal, the report states that the public is more concerned with their online privacy, and many are using sophisticated encryption methods to protect it.
But as protection measures increase, so will the number of efforts to hack those measures.
"As more data are encrypted in transit, the value of subverting machines to get to data will rise," the report states.