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Hacker’s Have Your Data Now What?

Hacker’s Have Your Data Now What

In the past few weeks we have seen a rise in hacker’s activities on businesses, social media account, and Internet file storage or cloud storage services. Hackers have recently changed their targets from stealing credit card information to stealing celebrity nudes, 200.000 Snapchat photos, and more recently the Dropbox break in. The 200,000 photos stolen from Snapchat were posted on 4chan.

Why the sudden change from credit cards to photos? What does a hacker do with all the data they steal from these accounts?

The RAND Corporation’s National Security and Research Division recently released a report concerning hackers and their activities. According to the report hackers sell your data to other cyber criminals on the Internet black market. The cyber criminals have a highly organized and sophisticated market for stolen data. The new hacker’s market has become more profitable than the illegal drug trade market. Once the hacker steals your data it is posted on a network of illegal trading sites. The data’s sold or bought in large amounts by other cyber criminals.

Before, all we had to worry about was identity thief and credit card fraud. However, today hackers have discovered a more profitable way to make money through stolen photos and social media accounts. LinkedIn and eHarmony are a goldmine for hackers. The social media accounts supply hackers with passwords they need to update their “rainbow tables”. Slate’s Will Oremus said that the tables belong to a large database of digital keys that helps hackers to crack sophisticated encrypted passwords. Furthermore, Twitter accounts are now more profitable than stolen credit cards, according to the RAND report.

Director of threat intelligence at PhishLabs, Don Jackson, said that even our medical records aren’t safe today. Reuters has been monitoring underground hacking exchange networks and recently discovered that cyber criminals make 10 times more money stealing medial information than they do stealing credit card information. The medical information contains the names, policy numbers, and birth dates of the insured. The cyber criminals buy and exchange this information to create fake IDs to purchase medical equipment. Later they sell the equipment for a profit. Also, the criminals create fake insurance claims which they file with the insurance companies.

The RAND’s report describes the cyber criminals black market as a “Hackers’ Bazaar”. Furthermore, the black market is becoming increasingly diverse in the data products they now offer. Some underground black markets reach over 80,000 people who are interested in buying stolen data. The market brings in hundreds of millions of dollars each month by using the stolen data and turning it into usable money.

The hacker’s black market has turned into a lucrative and surprisingly competitive market. The RAND report predicts that the exploitation of mobile devices and social media networks will continue to grow with more people entering into the hacking world. With the information found in Google guides and You Tube “how-to’s”, allows more individuals to get involved in selling, stealing, and buying information.

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