In recent years, many Internet users have become increasingly worried over the rise in cyber attacks and data leaks. Considering the amount of sensitive information most people are willing to put online, this worry is more than justified. Hackers are also always changing up their tactics, staying one step ahead of security efforts. Even more frightening is that with recent events, many hackers now have added financial incentive to increase their attacks. It was once thought the only way hackers could get some monetary value out of their attacks would be to steal bank account numbers or credit card information. But now an underground market has sprung up that allows hackers to sell other types of information to those who are willing to pay. In other words, all that data that is stolen or leaked is now going to the highest bidder.
Let’s look at several such incidents that have only cropped up in recent months. One hacker made waves by putting up for sale the account records of more than 160 million LinkedIn users. While this isn’t the information of every single LinkedIn user, it does represent a substantial portion of their more than 430 million user base. The data included in the attempted sale contains email addresses, user IDs, and even password hashes. There’s still no word where this data breach originated, but many experts believe it may come from a breach that LinkedIn experience back in 2012. That breach only had 6.5 million users’ information leaked, but some experts claim the breach may have been far more extensive than first thought. For now, the hacker selling this data wants $2,200 for the information.
The LinkedIn leak follows a similar pattern of other hackers selling account information. One hacker was able to gain access to the email addresses and passwords of more than 65 million Tumblr users. That data was first leaked back in 2013, but only recently has it gone onto the dark market, though, this time, the hacker is only asking $225 for it. It is believed that this is the same cyber attacker as the LinkedIn leak.