For Sale, Cheap

Brian Krebs has an interesting post at his Krebs on Security about the thriving market in stolen credit cards.  There are many sites on the Internet that offer a considerable selection of stolen card numbers, and competition between them has resulted in knock-down prices.

When you’re shopping for stolen credit and debit cards online, there are so many choices these days. A glut of stolen data — combined with innovation and cutthroat competition among vendors — is conspiring to keep prices for stolen account numbers exceptionally low. Even so, many readers probably have no idea that their credit card information is worth only about $1.50 on the black market.

Mr. Krebs reports that US residents’ card numbers go for about $1.50; numbers for UK residents run about $4.00.  (I’m not sure, offhand, why UK cards should command a premium.)  It is also possible, for an additional fee, to get personal details of the card holder (date of birth, for example).   The sites even offer search tools so that, if you want a card from a particular region or city, you can easily find one.  Taking a leaf from the credit card issuers’ book, the site does of course charge a small fee for this added service.

This is another manifestation of the maturation of malware into a thriving criminal industry.

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