According to a report by NordVPN, which is one of the largest VPN service providers in the world, around five million internet users have fallen prey to online identity theft and their data was sold on bot markets for an average price of Rs 490. Around six lakh Indian citizens are in the list whose data has been sold on bot markets, the report adds.
Bot here does not mean autonomous program. It means data-harvesting malware. Bot markets are online marketplaces that hackers use to sell the data of the victims whose data they stole. Sold in packets wherein full digital identity of the person is compromised which consists of data such as digital fingerprints, login credentials, cookies and so on. Vidar,Racoon. RedLine, AZORult, Taurus are some popular types of malware which steal data. Hackers send infected websites, malicious links and attachments through email and when a user clicks on it the data is breached.
The research also found that out of the 26.6 million stolen data, 7,20,000 were through Google logins, 6,54,000 through Microsoft logins and 6,47,000 through Facebook login.
In order to authenticate data, many online platforms track digital fingerprints. A person’s digital fingerprint includes device information, screen resolution, default language, browser preference and other information. 5,38,000 autofill forms were also found on the bot markets by the research.
Chief technology officer of NordVPN, Marijus Briedis 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.” He added “A simple password is no longer worth money to criminals, when they can buy logins, cookies, and digital fingerprints in one click for just ₹490.”