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The Dark Web: Your hacked Facebook account sells for less than $75

April 2021 by NordVPN

Expert explains why online accounts get hacked and how to protect them They say you can buy and sell anything on the dark web. Researchers at Privacy Affairs went on a data-gathering mission to investigate the notorious network for identity-specific materials and their prices. They published their findings in the Dark Web Price Index.

Although internet users often consider themselves unimportant to hackers, that is not the case. One in three people in the world uses social media platforms, and 70% own at least one credit card – all of this makes for valuable data on the underground market.

Research findings

The Index shows that it costs $74.5 on average for someone to get their hands on a hacked Facebook account, $55.45 for an Instagram account, and $49 for a Twitter account. A hacked Gmail account is the dearest, with an average cost of $155.73.

Prices of credit card details start at only $12, whereas a cloned Mastercard with a PIN code sells for as little as $15. You can also buy someone’s stolen online banking logins for $100.

“Relatively low prices for hacked personal information indicates that our financial details and social media credentials are more valuable to us than to hackers,” explains Daniel Markuson, a digital privacy expert at NordVPN. “However, this information can be used in many fraudulent activities, including identity theft, so its protection shouldn’t be underestimated.”

How online accounts get hacked

Weak passwords are one of the main reasons why online accounts get hacked. A study by NordPass found that less than half of respondents use unique passwords for personal emails, and only around 35% of users come up with unique passwords for their social media accounts.

Public Wi-Fi hotspots are very convenient to use while traveling. But hackers often use unsecured public connections to snoop on people’s devices and steal their personal data, including online credentials with passwords. Another popular way to trick people into giving away their personal information is phishing scams. Scammers usually contact potential victims by email, pretending to be representatives of legitimate companies to gain your trust.

“They can send you offers, discounts, or invitations to log in to your account to activate or review something. However, by clicking on the link in the message, you’ll be taken to a realistically-looking yet fake website, where your details get cloned or stolen if entered,” says Daniel Markuson.

How to protect your data

Anyone can have their data stolen, but with the right cybersecurity habits, you can make it harder to do:
● Use unique and complex passwords for different accounts. Once hacked, your credentials can be checked against other services, such as email or online banking. To help you navigate through the sea of passwords, use a password manager like NordPass, which generates secure passwords and stores them in a protected vault.
● If you use or have ever used the same password for multiple accounts, do a clean-up and delete your old accounts, as they might be compromised and cause problems in the future.
● Avoid insufficiently protected public Wi-Fi. If you have to log in to your online account on a network you can’t fully trust, use a VPN like NordVPN to make your connection private. A VPN encrypts all communications passing between your device and the internet so no outsider can intercept it.

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