For cybercriminals on the Internet black market, also referred to as darknets, stolen social media account info can be worth more than illegally obtained credit cards. Therefore the exploitation of social networks and mobile devices at the hands of hackers will continue to grow.
An example of this illicit activity occurred in December, when the Internet security firm Trustwave reported nearly two million passwords for popular social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as Google and Yahoo accounts were stolen and posted online.
In total, 1,580,000 website login credentials were stolen, alongside 320,000 email and 41,000 Facebook and Twitter passwords – harvested from vulnerable computers worldwide.
An analysis, commissioned by Juniper Networks and the National Security Research Division (RAND), titled “Markets for Cybercrime Tools and Stolen Data,” revealed how seemingly innocuous non-financial data hacked from social media accounts are now worth much more than credit card information.
Social media account data is easier to obtain and use in comparison to credit cards because of the type security features in place. And unlike credit card info, social media accounts include usernames and passwords, which can often be used as an entry point to launch attacks on that person’s accounts on a number of other sites. An individual’s stolen account information can also be used to spear-phish the accounts of friends, family and co-workers.
The average person typically recycles the same username and password on various personal accounts, which experts say is a no-no. Varying passwords, increasing their difficulty, and monitoring changes in log-in points can limit the ease of an account hack.
Regarding social media account info, Twitter is the most desired by hackers, says RT. Depending on the social media account, the information can sell for upwards of $300+ on the black market, while credit card information in comparison might top out at a third, around $100 per account at best.
Hackers will often exploit loopholes to circumvent security systems, taking whatever measures necessary – using phishing scams claiming the account has been compromised, for example – in order to further infiltrate a database housing financial, authentication, and personal information of site users.
The report demonstrates that social media account security is as important as financial security. While credit cards have inherent securities measures in place, social sites like Facebook and Twitter have gradually started to integrate a more secure login process and instructs users to exercise caution.
[Photo Credit: ePublicist]