Data monetization is no longer confined to credit card fraud. Identity theft has long evolved, keeping pace with the progress of technology. Today, underground economies trade your online data—email, social media, online gaming, and online banking account credentials, among others—the way legitimate businesspeople trade goods, merchandise, and services. To hackers, online accounts represent a deep well of opportunities. And to their victims, the repercussions are not limited to losing money or getting inconvenienced. Losing personal data can haunt people throughout their lives. Data does not expire. It can infinitely be reused and traded underground.
Who is accountable for protecting data? Data keepers or the companies we trust with personal information should keep it safe, of course. They need to comply with certain regulations and standards. But we are responsible for keeping our data safe, too. We need to carefully discern who we reveal personal stuff to. After all, it can't end up in anyone else's hands if we didn't give it out.
Apart from practicing safe online habits, it also helps to beef up your device and system security. Use trusted and effective security solutions. Keep it constantly updated. And remember that cybercriminals are always on the lookout for vulnerabilities. Considering the repercussions of the information you reveal online, the amount of time you spend on carefully scrutinizing who to trust with your personal data and keeping your devices and systems malware-free is worth it.
The Cybercriminal Underground Economy Series (CUES) can help you better understand what could happen if you become a cybercrime victim. It offers a glimpse into the Chinese, Russian, and Brazilian underground markets, as well as the types of data cybercriminals are looking to steal and sell to their peers. For a more visual look at the details, take a look at the interactive page “A Global Black Market for Stolen Personal Data” and see the different international black markets that trade stolen data, what types of data can be bought and sold, how much they're worth, and what you can do about it.
Visit the Deep Web section of the Threat Intelligence Center for more on the Deep Web and the Cybercriminal Underground
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