Dark Web. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

Dark Web Price List: Crypto Wallets Are Hot Items

A verified, hacked Coinbase account fetches $610

Charlie Osborne

London – Nov. 17, 2021

An examination of dark web pricing has revealed a bustling marketplace for cryptocurrency wallets.

Cyberattacks against organizations can be launched for many reasons, whether political, to deliberately cause damage, to conduct surveillance, to deploy ransomware and secure payment, for other financial reasons, or in the quest for valuable data.

While the news is usually focused on high-profile security catastrophes suffered by corporations — such as the widespread Microsoft Exchange Server hacks, or the incidents experienced by insurer CNA, JBS, and Colonial Pipeline — consumers may also feel the sting when their information or funds are stolen.

Unfortunately, this data will often end up packaged and ready to be sold online, in bulk, for purposes including identity theft, card cloning, fraudulent purchases, and even for accessing subscription services already paid for by unwitting individuals.

Privacy Affairs has published an updated guide to business in the web’s underground markets and forums under the Dark Web Price Index. The 2021 guide, last updated on Sep. 9, has documented and compared the price of different data sets on sale from 2020 to 2021, highlighting trends in demand and what dark web visitors seem to be willing to pay.

The platform’s researchers said that the volume of stolen data has increased substantially in the past 12 months, the quantity and the variety of products on offer has expanded, and everything from a hacked Uber account to payment card details can now be found. 

Cryptocurrency wallets and online accounts are now hot property. Once a user signs up and is verified, cryptocurrency exchanges may not place great emphasis on cybersecurity and so credentials alone may be enough for cybercriminals to access and transfer digital funds to another wallet — an activity, too, that can be difficult to track or prosecute.

SOURCE: Dark Web Price Index 2021

On average, a verified, hacked Coinbase account fetches $610, whereas Cex.io, Kraken, and Crypto.com verified accounts also fetch high prices at $710, $810, and $300 each, respectively. Verified accounts from Binance fetch an average price of $410.

According to Privacy Affairs, the value of these accounts has also increased due to possible pairings with cryptocurrency-supporting ATMs in various countries.

However, the market for traditional, fiat currency accounts is also thriving. While supply has increased, so has the price — a trend the team says could be due to “the increasing risks of attaining the information, the increasing benefit for buyers to use the information, the increased quality/accuracy of the card data, or just good ol’ inflation.”

A guarantee is often set at 80 percent on payment card-related data dumps. When they are offered with a CVV security code, Israeli cards demand the highest price ($65), followed by Spanish and Japanese cards ($40). The average cost of a credit card globally is $35, but U.S. cards only fetch an average price of $17.

Cloned American cards, however, can command a higher asking price: together with PINs, Mastercard cards are sold for an average of $25, Visa cards fetch $25, and American Express-branded cards are sold for $35 each.

There is also a market for Walmart accounts with credit cards attached, offered for an average price of $14.

In mimicry of legitimate commerce tactics, some underground marketplaces have also adopted a “Buy X, get X number free” model.

Not every stolen account has maintained value over the past year, however. Stolen PayPal account details — marketed as with a minimum value of $100 — have dropped in price by roughly $169 and now may only command as much as $30 as an asking price. Those without a balance tend to go for $14 each.

It might seem odd that an account with a verified balance can go for less than the contained figure. However, some attackers, once they have obtained initial access, may wish to cash in without further risk by pillaging these accounts — transferring these perils to the buyer, instead.

Cyberattackers also attempt to profit from a variety of subscription services, ranging from rideshares to media streaming and creative applications. An eBay account with a positive feedback rating of over 1,000 fetches roughly $1,000, whereas a compromised Netflix subscription is worth $4.

“The sad truth is with the growing supply of personal information on the dark web, the likelihood and occurrence of devastating hacks increase every day,” Privacy Affairs says. “The reality is that hackers rarely resort to targeting specific people. With the sheer quantity of data available for purchase, they just need to play the numbers game, and if you don’t protect yourself, you’ll be the one paying the price.”

Charlie Osborne is a journalist covering security for ZDNet. Her work also appears on TechRepublic, Cybercrime Magazine, and other media outlets. 

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