In the Summer of 2020, Digital Shadows researchers discovered over 15 billion credentials from more than 100,000 data breaches on the dark web, including access to everything from banking accounts to financial services. Many of the sites on the dark web operate like virtual stores. Users can stroll through, picking and choosing what they want, like a shopping mall for criminals. Some of the credentials identified by researchers include information related to cybersecurity, architecture, engineering and petroleum companies, along with state governments and universities.
The bulk of compromised accounts come from the financial sector and are the most expensive, averaging $70.91. Second place goes to access for antivirus programs, averaging $21.67. In terms of geographical area, US-based accounts are the most wanted, followed by Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
How can You Protect Your Data?
Everyone can make a better effort to strengthen their defenses against a data breach. Here’s are some tips to keep your information safe on the web:
- Always make sure your system is running the latest versions of operating systems and apps.
- Frequently monitor your financial transactions online, your monthly financial account statements and make sure transactions are accurate.
- Regularly check your credit report to confirm that identity thieves haven’t opened credit card accounts or loans in your name.
- Shred documents. It sounds rudimentary, but criminals aren’t above scouring through your trash to find key information.
- Only use secure websites. Sites that do not utilize an SSL certificate aren’t guaranteed to be safe.
- Give out your Social Security number only when absolutely necessary. Create strong, secure passwords using uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters symbols.
- Use different passwords for every account. This will help minimize the damage if one of your account passwords is ever exposed or becomes compromised.