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The Hidden Data Economy

The Marketplace for Stolen Digital Information – McAfee – This report was researched and written by: Charles McFarland, François Paget, Raj Saman.
Raj Samani, CTO of Intel Security for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa: “Data is the “oil” of the digital economy. The commercial market for personal data is booming, with large databases of subscriber information driving up the enormous valuations of those companies that own it, even though many have yet to turn a profit. As the commercial value of personal data grows, cybercriminals have long since built an economy selling stolen data to anybody with a computer browser and the means to pay. In the 2013 McAfee Labs report Cybercrime Exposed: Cybercrime-as-a-Service, we demonstrated how current tools, products, and services can allow anyone to become a cybercriminal, regardless of technical ability. We followed up with the report Digital Laundry: An analysis of online currencies, and their use in cybercrime, which explained virtual currencies in detail and how they are used to convert stolen data into cash. By the time Digital Laundry was published in 2013, the publicity following the law enforcement action against the Silk Road let the world know that illegal products could easily be acquired online. Such actions have demonstrated just how much traditional crime has evolved with the help of the cyber world. Cybercrime Exposed and Digital Laundry focused on tools that aid an attack. This report will attempt to answer the question: What happens after a successful breach? Immediately after the Target breach, I cowrote a blog that tracked the sale of stolen credit cards and showed that much like traditional economics, the price of stolen credit cards went down with the huge influx of new stolen cards on the market. The Target example is only the tip of the iceberg. This paper provides more detail on this hidden data economy.”

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