Researchers have found over 15 billion credentials from more than 100,000 data breaches on the dark web, including access to everything from streaming services to banking accounts and financial services.
Despite what people might think about data breaches and hackers, most incidents have a different entry vector. When attackers compromise a company’s infrastructure, they usually have the right credentials, which means that it’s more difficult to detect them once they’re inside.
The dark web is where these stolen credentials are found, with many of these websites operating like virtual stores. Users stroll through, picking and choosing what they want. It’s basically a criminal enterprise that goes far beyond selling access to Netflix.
The Photon Research Team identified a large number of these credentials, ranging from account compromise (think Netflix) to complete network compromise, used in ransomware attacks. The prices for the latter would go for an average of $3,139 and up to $140,000.
“Privileged accounts, like administrator accounts, are considered extremely valuable in the criminal underworld,” say the researchers. “Not only do they give access to a network, but they feature the highest levels of control and trust, and their permissions are nigh unlimited. A person using a privileged account could change system configuration settings, read and modify sensitive data, or give other users access to critical assets.”
Some of the credentials identified by the researchers include data for cybersecurity, architecture and engineering and petroleum companies, along with universities and even state governments.
The bulk of compromised accounts come from banking/financial services and are the most expensive, averaging $70.91. Surprisingly, the second place is occupied by access for antivirus programs, averaging $21.67.
When it comes to geography spread, US-based accounts are the most wanted, followed by Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
In total, more than 15 billion leaked credentials were identified in the wild, out of which 5 billion seem completely unique.