Friday, June 21, 2024

Identities of 125,000 Pinoys sold on ‘bot’ markets, says report

At least five million people have had their online identities stolen and sold on bot markets for P340 on average and out of all the affected people, 125,000 are from the Philippines, making the country the 10th most affected by this threat in the world.

This growing threat has already affected five million people globally, with hackers selling webcam snaps, screenshots, up-to-date logins, cookies, and digital fingerprints.

This is according to a research report by the cybersecurity company NordVPN, which looked into three major bot markets.

The word “bot” in this situation does not mean an autonomous program – in this case, it refers to data-harvesting malware. Bot markets are online marketplaces hackers use to sell data they have stolen l from their victims’ devices with bot malware.

The data is sold in packets, which include logins, cookies, digital fingerprints, and other information — the full digital identity of a compromised person.

“What makes bot markets different from other dark web markets is that they are able to get large amounts of data about one person in one place. And after the bot is sold, they guarantee the buyer that the victim’s information will be updated as long as their device is infected by the bot,” Marijus Briedis, CTO at NordVPN said.

“A simple password is no longer worth money to criminals, when they can buy logins, cookies, and digital fingerprints in one click for just P340.”

Researchers analyzed three major bot markets: the Genesis Market, the Russian Market, and 2Easy. All of the markets were active and accessible on the surface web at the time of analysis. The data on bot markets was compiled in partnership with independent third-party researchers specializing in cybersecurity incident research.

The most popular types of malware that steal data are RedLine, Vidar, Racoon, Taurus, and AZORult.

What information do hackers sell on bot markets?

  • Screenshots of a device. During a malicious attack, a virus might take a snapshot of the user’s screen. It can even take a picture with the user’s webcam; 
  • Logins and other credentials. When a virus attacks the user’s device, it may grab logins saved to their browser. The research found 26.6 million stolen logins on the analyzed markets. Among them were 720 thousand Google logins, 654 thousand Microsoft logins, and 647 thousand Facebook logins;  
  • Cookies. These are also usually stolen from a user’s browser and help criminals bypass two-factor authentication. The research found 667 million stolen cookies on the analyzed markets;
  • Digital fingerprints. A person’s digital fingerprint includes screen resolution, device information, default language, browser preferences, and other information that makes the user unique. Many online platforms track their users’ digital fingerprints to make sure they properly authenticate them.
  • Autofill forms. Many people use the autofill function for their names and emails as well as for their payment cards and addresses. All of these details can be stolen by malware. During the research, 538 thousand autofill forms were found on the analyzed market.


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