Hackers operate by the same rules of economics as we all do. Thanks to a high profile breach like Target's, a glut of stolen credit cards has made them cheap cheap cheap. So you know what's a more valuable target these days? Your Twitter account.
That's all outlined in a new cybercrime report by RAND Corporation and Juniper Networks that delves into the economics of hacking. Days after a breach, credit cards along with home addresses and account information appear for sale in the black market. They're valuable at first — fetching $US20 to $US135 each — but quickly plummet in value, dropping to as low as 75 US cents per account.
Meanwhile, social media accounts can range from $US16 to $US325+ depending on the account. It's not just your followers that hackers are after. As social media has become part of the fabric of our lives, access to a Twitter account gives hackers access to a whole lot more. Michael Callahan explains it on Juniper Networks's blog about the report:
Depth: Social media and other credentials include usernames and passwords, which can often be used as an entry point to launch attacks on that person's accounts on a number of other sites. Given the number of people that tend to use the same username and passwords, hacking one account can often yield other valuable information such as online banking or e-commerce accounts. By stealing Joe Smith's account information on one site, the criminal might gain access to his information on 10 sites.
Reach: An individual's stolen account information can be used to spear-phish the accounts of friends, family and co-workers for additional financial gain.
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