Consumer card details ‘available on darknet for $10.60’

The card numbers of millions of consumers are being sold on the darknet for an average of $10.60, according to research by NordVPN.

The darknet is an overlay network within the internet that can only be accessed with specific software such as the Tor browser, with transactions generally being made via cryptocurrency.

It is commonly used for illegal activity such as trading drugs but has also been used for political activism and co-ordination.

The virtual private network service (VPN) company looked at 4.5 million payment card details from 140 countries that had been discovered by independent researchers.

The United States took the lead in terms of the number of consumers card details available on the darknet, with the research finding 1,561,739 million available at an average price of $5.80.

Australia took second place in the rankings, while Hong Kong came third, with over 400,000 sets of details available for both countries.

According to the research, Visa cards accounted for 913,955 of the sets of details available on the darknet, followed by Mastercard which had 406,851 sets available, and Amex with 143,836.

About 135,000 of the card details analysed by the report belonged to UK citizens.

“Increasingly, the card numbers sold on the dark web are brute-forced,” said Marijus Briedis, chief technology officer, NordVPN. “Brute-forcing is a bit like guessing.”

"Think of a computer trying to guess your password. First it tries 000000, then 000001, then 000002, and so on until it gets it right”.

He said: “Being a computer, it can make thousands of guesses a second".

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