Hackers commit the vast majority of data breaches and cyber crimes in order to make money. But once a hacker has stolen private information like social security numbers, passwords or credit card data, how do they monetize that information?
Dark Reading interviewed our own Information Security Threat Analyst Marc Laliberte for an article on this topic that explains the steps a hacker will take to sell stolen information or use it to make money. These include selling high-value email addresses and passwords on the dark web, stealing IP, filing fraudulent tax returns, and scamming medical patients or insurance providers. Here’s a quote from the article where Marc talks about what hackers do with email addresses and password data:
“Hackers will often start by selling data on military or government accounts,” says Mark Laliberte, an information security analyst at WatchGuard Technologies. “People are also bad at choosing passwords for individual services and often reuse passwords, which lets hackers try those passwords on the other websites their victims use.”
Password reuse, like what Marc is describing above, can create opportunities for more breaches. For example, Dropbox was breached in 2012 because a Dropbox employee’s Expedia password was stolen in a separate data breach and they reused that password for their work account.
Check out the full article on Dark Reading. We also have a Secplicity post on this topic called Once Stolen, What Do Hackers Do With Your Data that explains in more detail the steps a hacker takes to sort, package and sell stolen information.