South Africans’ vulnerability to cybercrime was illustrated by the discovery that passports, identity documents, bank cards and email information are being sold on the ‘dark web’ for under R200 – among the cheapest in the world.p>
This is according to a study by cybersecurity firm NordVPN, which analyzed the $17.3 million (R270.4 million) dark web market. Among the items found were passports and ID cards, payment card details, online accounts, bank account logins and crypto accounts, and other personal details from more than 50 countries.
An SA passport or ID Cards can be purchased for as little as R156, the fourth cheapest in the world.
Researchers also discovered that the market sells an average SA payment card data price of R143.< /p>
SA personal email data costs R156 per batch – also one of the lowest in the world.
Crypto wallets and investment accounts cost more than bank accounts. With an average price of R6,158, the most expensive crypto account data is from Binance, according to the report, followed by Kraken (R6,001) and Crypto.com (R5,470).
The researchers stated, “In some ways, it is a dark web market like any other. Criminals who buy products in these criminal markets expect their money back and more – just like a dealer buying a tool at a hardware store.
“The only problem is that they get their money through Stealing deserves it from innocent people.”
The most commonly found item on the entire dark web market was payment card data.
Copies of passports were sold at around $600 (roughly R9 .189) on average. However, prices varied widely between countries, with Argentinian passports being the cheapest at $9 (approx. R137.84) and Czech, Slovak and Lithuanian passports being the most expensive at $3,800 (approx. R58,202).
Batches of bulk-bought email addresses are used to launch large-scale scams and hacks. The EU had the most expensive home and business addresses.
Tips for security
- Trust websites and services: Hackers get a lot of data, by targeting the websites and services with which you share your data. You can’t personally back up the servers that store your data, but you can “vote with your wallet/feet”. Make your data security a priority. If a website or service asks you for sensitive information, ask them serious questions about how they secure it and what they do if it’s breached.
- Monitor your accounts: Request weekly statements or enable transaction notifications in your app. Enable security settings for all your accounts so you know when suspicious devices are attempting to log in. Use tools offered by the websites or services you use (e.g. a password manager offers a data breach scanner that will tell you if your password is there in the event of a security breach).
- Stay alert: One side of the coin is knowing how to protect your data, and the other side is how to react quickly and effectively can if your sensitive data is used.
- Use strong and unique passwords: If your password is long, it’s probably difficult to guess. If it’s unique, the rest stays safe even if one of your accounts gets breached. Stay safe longer with a collection of strong and unique passwords.
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