Credit Card Information Sold on Dark Web Tripled in the Second Half of 2019

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Sixgill, a cybersecurity firm that monitors activities on the dark web has discovered in their latest research that the upload of credit card information has more than tripled in the final half of 2019. This is a confirmation of the many recorded incidents of data breach launched against e-commerce websites and ATMs using skimmers. Interestingly, the stolen credit card information is sold as low as $5 on the dark web.

The recorded number of credit card information uploaded on the dark web in the last six months is a little over 300% of the cards uploaded in the first half of 2019.
The Sixgill researchers estimated that over 76 million credit card information were uploaded on the dark web for sale. Out of the estimated number, two out of three of the cards belong to Americans as captured in the report.

Credit Card Information

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In the first half of 2019, about 23 million credit card information were uploaded on the dark web for sale. Similar to the analysis in the second half, two out of three of the cards were issued in America. Interestingly, no other country accounted for over 10% of the stolen credit card information. The UK had the second most issued credit card information behind America.

Hackers have over the recent months devised a more potent malware to modify the source code of e-commerce websites and other sites that accepts a bunch of credit card details. Magecart hackers have largely been linked most of these attacks as their malware is mainly difficult to detect. Some of these hackers redirect users from the original payment site to a fake landing page that looks like the original. They, therefore, get access to all the needed information from the details entered whiles trying to make a purchase.

Russia recorded a very low figure compared to the US and the UK. In fact, the recorded number of Russian issued credit cards in the second half of 2019 (238) was much lower than the recorded numbers in the first half of the same year (336). These numbers are very surprising considering the fact that a large number of Russians are found on the various dark web markets.

The reason why Russia recorded a lesser number of stolen credit cards was probably due to the instructions given to threat actors who buy hacking tools on the dark web not to use them in Russia or any CIS country.

The report attempted to find the reason behind the many US-issued credit card information found on the dark web. According to the Sixgill researchers, US consumers tend to use more credit cards in their online activities compared to the consumers in other countries. They also tend to have a higher credit limit which makes them a primary target by hackers.

Credit Card Information

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The report also revealed that in terms of the implementation of more secured chip-card technology, the US businesses and issuers seem to be less reliable compared to the issuers and businesses in other wealthy countries mostly in Europe. Hackers mostly love to attack less secured chip-cards than the vice verse which is a normal hackers behavior as claimed by the Sixgill researchers.

In the previous report released by the Sixgill researchers, it was stated that credit card hackers are moving from the usual website-based markets to encrypted Telegram channels and instant relay chats. It was reported that one instant relay chat channel contains a bot capable of validating stolen credit cards.

The report made a shocking discovery that the bot was used 425,000 times in the first half of 2019. The American Express card which is a very popular brand had a very low percentage of cards uploaded for sale on the dark web. Its “don’t-leave-home-without-it” brand was about 12% of the total stolen credit cards in the market.

Following the many incidents of credit card information and sales on the dark web as confirmed by the Sixgill researchers, it is important for users and card providers to put measures in place to reduce the impact. As part of the measures, credit card users have been advised to constantly monitor their account regularly.

In addition, it is important to set up a bank alert to be notified of any activity as a measure to monitor suspicious activities. Monitoring the dark web markets is a very important way of protecting credit card users and intercepting any data used for fraudulent activities.

Users who experience a suspicious activity in their bank account can notify their card providers or financial institutions to take the needed measure. Credit card information obtained is usually sold as early as possible in a bid to withdraw all funds before they are canceled. Other obtained personal information can put victims at risk of identity theft.

Source: Cyber Sixgill


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