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Dark Web: where it’s cheaper to buy a hacked Netflix account than to do the right thing

Beware: All that glistens is not gold. The Dark Web is a dangerous place where criminals live. Picture by Ales Nesetril/UnSplash

Beware: All that glistens is not gold. The Dark Web is a dangerous place where criminals live. Picture by Ales Nesetril/UnSplash

Published Jun 15, 2022

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A fraction of the cost of a monthly subscription to Netflix can (illegally) buy you a hacked account off the dark web, according to virtual private network provider, NordVPN.

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While a premium subscription to the video streaming service costs R199 in South Africa, a hacked account can cost as little as R160,59 or $10USD on the dark web, given today’s exchange rate.

As Netflix clamps down on password sharing globally, dark web fraud adds to the video service’s woes.

However, it isn’t just a Netflix account. Uber accounts go for R192,70 ($12USD), allowing legitimate owners’ in-app funds or banking accounts to be used.

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In need of a new government document without the wait in a Home Affairs line? According to NordVPN passport can start at R3051,15 ($190USD), drivers’ licenses go for R1927,04 ($120USD), and an ID card can go for as little as R1589,81 ($99USD) - and they won’t have to include your name or ID number.

Meanwhile, email accounts, bank cards with funds and cryptocurrency wallets are also sold illegally on the dark web.

According to NordVPN, the dark web market is much like any other, where criminals who buy products on these criminal markets expect to make their money back and then some – the same way a tradesman might buy a tool at a hardware store.

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“The only problem is that they make their money by stealing it from innocent people. Therefore, analysing these markets can give us a general idea of the damage that criminals can do with this stolen data in their hands,” the company said in a recent case study report.

According to the report, categories that go for sale on the dark web comprise of documents, which make up 43%, finance at 39%, accounts at 12% and emails and passwords at 6%.

NordVPN also said that the most commonly found item in the market was payment card data.

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Most accounts and sensitive information sold on the dark web are likely the results of stolen or phished data from unsuspecting victims, adding to the global surge in cybercrime.

Counting the costs of losses, NordVPN said hackers stand to earn almost R272 million ($17.3 million) from stolen data of over 22,000 listings.

Meanwhile, cyber security firm Surfshark recently revealed that South Africa ranked sixth in the world with cyber crime density, rising from 11.8 cybercrime victims per 1 million internet users in 2016 to 14.1 victims per 1 million in 2019 and 50.8/1 million users in 2020.

Disclaimer: IOL Tech urges readers not to attempt purchases off the dark web as it contains many malicious links and connections to illegal activity.

How to protect yourself online:

1. Make use of trustworthy websites and online services you are familiar with

2. Avoid storing information online or within your browser

3. Implement two-step verifications on accounts that support it

4. Monitor your accounts and apps regularly and take note of any suspicious activity

5. Change passwords regularly

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