Your personal data could be for sale online for a lot less than you'd think

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New research from Kaspersky has revealed that stolen personal data is being traded on the dark web for tiny sums of money. The evidence suggests that cyberattackers are not content to limit their efforts to wealthy or high-profile individuals – everyone is potentially a target.

Looking at active offers for personal information on darket forums and marketplaces, Kaspersky researchers found that sensitive data can be purchased for as little as 50 cents. More extensive information, and financial records in particular, however, often fetched higher sums.

The Kaspersky research also found that new types of data were becoming popular among cyberattackers. While credit card numbers and passwords remain as sought after as ever, medical records and selfies containing personal identification documents are becoming increasingly popular.

Everyone's a target

“The internet has given us an opportunity to express our individualities and share our stories and that is fantastic. Yet, one has to understand that being and expressing yourself online is not exactly a private endeavor – it is more like shouting on a crowded street and you never know who might come your way, disagree with you, and how they might react. With this, comes risks,” Vladislav Tushkanov, a privacy expert at Kaspersky, explained.

“This does not mean that we should all delete and close our social media accounts, of course. It is all about understanding potential consequences and risks and being prepared for them. The best course of action when it comes to your data is this: know what they know, remove what you can, and take control of what information about you goes online. It is that simple, but does require effort.”

Given that over a third of millennials believe that they are too boring to become the victims of cybercrime, the fact that criminals are exchanging sensitive data for such little financial reward suggests that it is not only celebrities or social media influencers that they are targeting.

In order to avoid becoming another cybersecurity victim, Kaspersky recommends that individuals remain vigilant against phishing scams, use reliable security solutions, and employ two-factor authentication.

Barclay Ballard

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with ITProPortal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.