NordVPN Study of Dark Web Market Shows Philippine Driver’s License is World’s Cheapest at Php417 Only

Cybersecurity company NordVPN takes closer look into US$17.3 million (Php908 million)-worth Dark Web market

Prices for Philippine items and data vary from Php417.2 to Php1,042.3, with payment card data being the costliest

  • The market to this day has illegally sold more than 720K items or pieces of data for US$17.3 million (Php908 million).

  • Philippine driving licenses are the cheapest in the world – Php417.2 on average.

  • Payment card data from the Philippines, however, cost Php1,042.3, twice as much as the world’s average.

Media Release

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A popular artist’s rendetion of a hacker. (Image credit: The Digital Artist/Pixabay

A new study by cybersecurity company NordVPN has analyzed one of the dark web markets that to this day has illegally sold more than 720K items and data pieces for US$17.3 million (908 million Philippine pesos — Php).

The research showed that Philippine driving licenses can be bought for as little as Php417.2, which is the cheapest price on the market. However, payment card data from the country is one of the most expensive in the world.

Among the  items found globally were passports, personal IDs, driving licenses, email addresses, payment card data, mobile phone numbers, online accounts, bank account logins, and crypto accounts as well as other personal data.

“This one market is just the tip of an iceberg. There are over 30K websites on the dark web at the moment. Keep in mind that only 4% of the entire internet belongs to the surface web that is available to any user online,” says Adrianus Warmenhoven, a cybersecurity expert at NordVPN. “The market that was analyzed in our case study was chosen because it was used by some big hacker groups in the past, such as the one involved in AT&T data theft in August of last year.”

The study was conducted in partnership with third-party cybersecurity researchers with an aim to warn users about the possible dangers of illegal activities people take part in on the dark web.

Credit: NordVPN

Average prices of found Philippine items and data

  • Philippine driving licenses were the cheapest in the world, with an average price of Php417.2 . Polish driving licenses were the costliest (avg. price Php89770.7) The price depends on many factors, including how difficult it is to fake a document, how widely it is sold, and how commonly it is bought.
  • An easy way for hackers to steal a user’s data or digital asset is credential stuffing (when the leaked password or email is used to get access to other platforms). That is why online accounts come at a low price: a hacked Netflix account can be bought for Php524.8, an Uber account for Php629.76, and a Twitter account for as little as Php105.
  • Country residents’ payment card data is sold for Php1,042.3, twice as much as the worlds’ average (Php524). The top countries in this list are Japan (Php2253), and Macau (Php1179.75).
  • Crypto wallets and investment accounts cost more than payment processing accounts and even more than some of the bank accounts. With an average price of Php20,677.12, the most expensive crypto account data is from Binance, followed by Kraken (Php20,159.14) and Crypto.com (Php18,368). Payment processing accounts (e.g., PayPal) have an average price of Php5,248 PHP. The most expensive merchandise in this category is the CashApp account, costing around Php12,777.3.
  • Some criminals also buy emails in batches and use them for phishing attacks or other malicious purposes. Researchers noticed that those emails could be put in three types: personal emails (avg. price for Philippines Php524.3), business emails (none Philippines found; avg. price overall – Php535.3), and voters’ emails (avg. price for Philippines Php524.3.

 

Philippine items:
Average price:
Philippine DEBIT CARD with Known Balance
1042.3 ₱
UBER HACKED ACCOUNT
629.76 ₱
Netflix Email+Password
524.8 ₱
Philippine Emails Pack
524.3 ₱
Philippine Voters’ Database
524.3 ₱
Philippines Driving License Of Real Person
417.2 ₱
KRAKEN VERIFIED ACCOUNT
20159.14 ₱
Fully Verified CashApp
12777.3 ₱

 

You can see the full price list of items found on the research page: https://nordvpn.com/research-lab/dark-web-case-study/

How to reduce the risk of your data being sold on the dark web

“The broad scope of the data offered on these criminal markets shows the importance of taking charge of your security and privacy online. Your cybersecurity is in your hands. If you know the risks and equip yourself with the right tools and information, you’ll maximize your chances of keeping yourself and your family secure,” says cybersecurity expert Adrianus Warmenhoven.

He offers some steps as a starting point:

  • Make sites and services earn your trust: Hackers get lots of data by targeting the websites and services you share your data with. You can’t personally secure the servers that store your data, but you can vote with your wallet or feet. Make your data security a priority. If a site or a service asks you for sensitive data, ask tough questions about how the company secures it and what it will do if its data is  breached.
  • Educate yourself: You can do a lot individually to protect your data. This will depend vastly on where you spend your time online, but you can be proactive and research ways to stay safe on the devices and services you use.
  • Stay vigilant: One side of the coin is knowing how to protect your data, and the other is knowing how to react quickly and effectively when your sensitive data is used without your permission.
  • Monitor your accounts: Request weekly bank statements or activate transaction notifications on your app. Turn on the security settings for all of your accounts so you know when login attempts are made from suspicious devices. Make use of tools offered by the sites or services you use (a password manager NordPass, for example, offers a password strength checker that will tell you if your password is present in any breaches).

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How study was conducted:

Methodology: The data was compiled in partnership with independent researchers specializing in cybersecurity incident research. They evaluated one marketplace on a dark web and analyzed its listing data which included title, price, and country of shipment. No information that relates to an identified or identifiable individual (such as names, contact information, or other personal information) was involved in the research. None of the listings were bought or reviewed more thoroughly than stated before to perform research. Data was received on  April 1, 2022. The exchange rate from USD to PHP was 1 to 52.48 at the time of conversion (2022.05.06).
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Abiut  NordVPN

NordVPN is the world’s most advanced VPN service provider, used by millions of internet users worldwide. NordVPN provides double VPN encryption and Onion Over VPN and guarantees privacy with zero tracking. One of the key features of the product is Threat Protection, which blocks malicious websites, malware, trackers, and ads. NordVPN is very user friendly, offers one of the best prices on the market, and has over 5,000 servers in 60 countries worldwide.

For more information: nordvpn.com.

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