Industry News

Digital identities of 200 million people, worth next to nothing on the dark web

6GBs of worth of personal details leaked on the dark web and is on sale for merely $600, according to news reports.

The batch includes personal identifiable information such as people’s names, full addresses, dates of birth, and phone numbers, as well as more than 80 personal attributes.

The attributes refer to various types of information, such as person’s credit rating, if they own a home, marital status and number of children. Other details include occupation, education, net worth, and total household income.

Additional fields list information about a person’s travel habits, financial investments or donations.

The salesman claims the data comes from credit reporting giant Experian, however, the company dismantled the rumors and said this is simply a technique meant to boast sales and credibility.

We’ve seen this unfounded allegation and similar rumors before,” Experian said in an emailed statement to CSO online. “We investigated it again – and see no signs that we’ve been compromised based on our research and the type of data involved. Based on our investigations and the lack of credible evidence, this is an unsubstantiated claim intended to inflate the value of the data that they are trying to sell – a common practice by hackers selling illegal data.”

The source of the data remains unknown, yet the consequences of its misuse are being regarded as serious. Cybercriminals can put all the pieces together to create highly-targeted phishing campaigns, for instance.

“This data set alone (and there are many more) tells us who makes more than $100,000 a year in a given zip code and address; what allergies each member may have; how many home loans they have taken out in 15 years; how many pets; how often they shop; and about 80 other attributes, says J. Tate, CISO of bits&digits. “Until we start taking our data seriously, how can we expect the companies that barter and sell it to?”

About the author

Alexandra GHEORGHE

Alexandra started writing about IT at the dawn of the decade - when an iPad was an eye-injury patch, we were minus Google+ and we all had Jobs. She has since wielded her background in PR and marketing communications to translate binary code to colorful stories that have been known to wear out readers' mouse scrolls. Alexandra is also a social media enthusiast who 'likes' only what she likes and LOLs only when she laughs out loud.