Hackers are constantly figuring out ways to steal your data, and it's almost always about one thing - the money.
In fact, the price paid for this stolen information is astounding. We typically talk about how these data breaches happen and what their impact is after the fact.
I want to focus on how much your information is worth to these creeps and what these criminals do with the data once they steal it from you.
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Man hacking data from unsuspecting victims. Data hackers use your info in a variety of ways. (CyberGuy.com)
What is the price of data on the dark web?
According to the Dark Web Price Index, which was compiled by Privacy Affairs, a person's personal information is worth around $1,010. They came up with this figure after calculating what Dark Web product prices are worth. Some of the products that were calculated include the following:
- Stolen online banking logins: as little as $50
- Credit card details and associated information: between $17-$120
- Online banking login information: $65
- Hacked Facebook account: $45
- Cloned VISA with PIN: $20
- Stolen PayPal account details, minimum $1000 balances: $20
- Hacked web and entertainment services, like Uber and Netflix: up to $40
According toVerizon's annual data breach report, 86% of data breaches are about money, and 55% are committed by organized criminal groups.
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How do hackers buy this data?
Hackers will purchase whatever data they are interested in owning, whether it be social security numbers or private banking information.
The price of the data depends on what kind of data it is, and its level of supply and demand. The most common way they can buy this data is either through Bitcoin or Western Union.
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Code presumably used to hack accounts. Hackers are stealing data to sell the info online. (CyberGuy.com)
Once the data is bought, where does it go?
Where the data goes depends on what the hacker who stole it desires to do with it. Some will obtain names, addresses, and social security numbers to perform identity theft and open credit cards and loans.
Others will want personal information to get free healthcare or even obtain someone's medical license to make it look like they have a medical background. And others will simply get the data they want and sell it to others to make more money for themselves.
The number of reasons is endless. However, it is important to know how to protect yourself from these data breaches.
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A man using card data to sell on the dark web. (CyberGuy.com)
How do I prevent this from happening to me?
The best way to protect yourself from having your data breached is to have antivirus protection installed on all your devices. My top pick is TotalAV, and you can get a limited-time deal for CyberGuy readers: $19 your first year (80% off) for the TotalAV Antivirus Pro package.
See my expert review of the best antivirus protection for your Windows, Mac, Android & iOS devices by searching ‘BestAntivirus’ at CyberGuy.com by clicking the magnifying glass icon at the top of my website.
Related: Free antivirus: should you use it?
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Identity Theft Protection
Companies such as my #1 pick, Identity Guard, can monitor your Social Security Number (SSN) and alert you if it is being sold on the dark web or being used to open an account. They can also assist you in freezing your bank and credit card accounts to prevent further unauthorized use by criminals. The faster you know, the quicker you can shut down the damage.
See my tips and best picks on how to protect yourself from identity theft by searching ‘identity theft' at CyberGuy.com by clicking the magnifying glass icon at the top of my website.
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CyberGuy.com has the info you need to protect yourself from identity theft. (CyberGuy.com)
Be sure to use strong passwords. Using the same password, no matter how complicated you make it, leaves you vulnerable.
If one account gets compromised, then every other account using the same password is potentially in the hands of criminals who will take full advantage of you.
See my tips and picks on best password managers by searching ‘best password managers’ at CyberGuy.com by clicking the magnifying glass icon at the top of my website.
Update your software and devices
Finally, be sure to regularly update your software on all your devices to get the latest security patches.
Have hackers stolen your data? We’d love to hear your story. Reach out to us at CyberGuy.com/contact.
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Kurt "CyberGuy" Knutsson is an award-winning tech journalist who has a deep love of technology, gear and gadgets that make life better with his contributions for Fox News & FOX Business beginning mornings on "FOX & Friends." Got a tech question? Get Kurt’s CyberGuy Newsletter, share your voice, a story idea or comment at CyberGuy.com.