In a recently revealed document from the RAND Corporation, the “Markets for Cybercrime Tools and Stolen Data: Hacker’s Bazaar” report reveals that on today’s web, Twitter accounts can be far more valuable than traditional methods of online scamming and scrounging like financial accounts, debit card numbers, or leaked general personal information.
According to the release, it turns out an interesting, and somewhat unexpected side-effect of the Target breach has been the dramatic drop in price vendors have seen for stolen credit cards available in marketplaces on various portals of the dark web.
Because of the basic laws of supply and demand, now that the market is flooded with a glut of credit cards that used to sell from anywhere between $6-$75 per account (now trending as low as 75 cents in some cases), the value for other hacked goods, such as compromised Twitter accounts, has gone through the roof to compensate.
The report explains this effect in detail:
“Immediately after a large breach, freshly acquired credit cards command a higher price — as there is greater possibility for the credit cards to still be active. But after time, prices fall because the market becomes flooded — e.g., the Target case (Kirk, 2014) — leveling off as the data becomes stale, or if there has been significant time since the last breach.”
Social media accounts are especially valuable, not only for the fact that they link up to a variety of other services like Facebook and Gmail automatically, but also because spammers can utilize the “shout from the rooftop” mentality of the soapbox-style platform to get their underground marketing message into as many different eyeballs as possible with only one strategically-placed status update.
So what does this mean for the future of hacked credit cards? Well, make no mistake, they’ll remain the number one source of stolen income for the next several years at least. But, as social media continues to bleed into every aspect of our lives, one can only suspect it won’t be long before a compromised Facebook or Tumblr account is the primary avenue through which the world tries to drain your bank account in the future.