Threat Management, Incident Response, TDR

Stolen data could fetch in the thousands

The going price for stolen information is like any other commodity: the higher the quality, the higher the price, according to McAfee Avert Labs.

McAfee researcher Francois Paget said in a blog post that he found a website that revealed bank sign-on information and credit card data from the United States, United Kingdom, and other European countries. Cybercriminals appear to price the stolen data, such as bank account numbers, according to the size and brand name of the institution and on the amount available in the account.  For example, an MBNA account worth $22,000 was priced at 1,500 euros ($2,317).

The sales also come with some guarantees.  If the buyer is unable to get into the account or if the account had been closed, the seller will offer a replacement account.

Determining the black market value of stolen data is not something new, but McAfee has been asked to step up its efforts to gather more of this type of information, Dave Marcus, security research and communications manager for McAfee Avert Labs, told on Friday.

“One of the more interesting aspects of cybercrime that really hasn't been looked at is the going price on things and how much the bad guys are making,” Marcus said. “So we're putting more research time into capturing that type of information.”

Marcus added that this information is priced to sell. Also, because of the volume of information is so high, the thieves can afford to set a more marketable selling price overall.

“The longer the account goes unsold, the more at risk the thief is,” Marcus said.

By publicizing the market value and publishing screen shots that show real numbers, Marcus said it shows users that data theft is a real danger.

“We want to show people that there is a significant threat out there,” he said. “This isn't just a nuisance.”

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