A recent study by cybersecurity firm Digital Shadows has revealed that over 15 billion credentials are in circulation via dark web.
This represents a 300% increase since 2018. The available information ranges from network access credentials, banking login data, and even streaming services accounts from Netflix with part of the leaked data are circulating even for free.
The report also warns that the reason that so many account credentials are available online due to people using non-complex passwords that could be easily extracted using hacking tools.
Among the most valuable leaked credentials includes access to corporate networks. This data type can fetch prices of up to $120,000 having an average cost of $3,139, depending on factors like the company’s revenue.
Circulation of such data implies ransomware gangs use such access to infiltrate an entire network.
This allows them to deploy the malware of their choice and ultimately hold these networks for ransom.
Bank login details from individuals are being sold at an average price of $70.91, while access for antivirus programs costs $21.67 on average.
Brett Callow, threat analyst at malware lab Emsisoft, warns:
“An enormous number of users’ credentials are exposed on a daily basis in a myriad of ways, from phishing to malware attacks to data breaches. The consequences of exposure may be minor, such as in the case of leaking Netflix logins, or extremely serious – leaked banking credentials, for example.”
Callow says that people can limit the likelihood of their accounts being compromised by using strong passwords:
“never reusing passwords using an antivirus solution, keeping their operating system current with patches and, most importantly, using two- or multi-factor authentication on all services which support it.”