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PSA: 10K Singaporeans have had their data sold online

By Ken Wong - on 8 Dec 2022, 11:33am

PSA: 10K Singaporeans have had their data sold online

According to research done by NordVPN, ten thousand Singaporeans have had their data sold at online bot markets at an average price of S$8 per digital identity.

Bot markets are online marketplaces hackers use to sell data they steal from their victims’ devices with bot malware. The data, sold in packets, include logins, cookies, digital fingerprints, screenshots, and other information — the full digital identity of a compromised person.

According to the research, taking into consideration the number of Internet users in Singapore this is a high number compared to other Asian countries. For example, Japan had thirteen thousand people affected, but the number of Internet users in Japan is almost 23 times higher.

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

Marijus Briedis, CTO at NordVPN, said:

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

Researchers analysed three major bot markets: the Genesis Market, the Russian Market, and 2Easy and compiled in partnership with independent third-party researchers specialising in cybersecurity incident research.

The type of information typically sold on bot markets includes:

  • 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.
  • 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.

“To protect yourself, use an antivirus at all times. Other measures that could help – a password manager and file encryptions tools to make sure that even if a criminal infects your device, there is very little for them to steal,” added Briedis.

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