Don't let them infect your devices

Identity protection software – why do you need it?

We take a look at the websites and trading platforms hackers and criminals use to buy and sell stolen credit cards, as well as drugs, guns and just about any other illicit item you can think of.  It’s a revealing read and one that illustrates how important identity protection is.  
At BullGuard we often talk about the need to protect your personal data and to ensure identity theft protection, that is, the use of security software to make sure your personal data is safe. This may seem a little alarmist at times but if you knew the reality of the dangers, and the extent of the underground industry that trades in stolen identities, you certainly wouldn’t think so. Many hackers and carders, who trade in stolen information, use something called the Tor network. In principle, the motives behind the Tor network are laudable. It’s designed to allow people to communicate online with anonymity.

How much does a new identity cost?

However, the opportunities have been seized upon by black market operators to hide their servers, and then offer all sorts of suspect things. You can find different grades of heroin for sale, handguns retailing at around $600 with an extra $50 for ammunition, or if you want a UK passport you just need to hand over £2,500. For hackers, scammers and identity thieves the deep web is a paradise.  Dumpz Station, for example, offers a fresh batch of stolen credit card numbers every day and embossed cards with holograms and official logos, so the card numbers can be ‘burnt’ onto fresh plastic. CC 4 ALL (Credit Cards for All) ramps up the offer a bit by providing a minimum balance of 1000 EUR, USD or GBP on the stolen credit cards. For the higher rollers minimum balances of 2000 EUR/USD/GBP are available. CC 4 ALL claims that all balances are checked. Then there’s CC Planet, which simply claims to be the best ‘autoshop for credit cards,’ that is, stolen credit card details on freshly minted cards.

A whole organized network is ready to steal your identity and credit card details

Of course this begs the question where does the information come from? In the case of credit cards its hacked. When you read about massive hacks with the details of millions of people stolen the information is headed to these and similar sites where trades take place and people come in and buy the information. There are plenty of forums too for hackers, crackers and others to discuss the pros and cons of various hacking techniques and swap trade secrets. In fact, many hackers view it as point of honour that they pass on their knowledge to peers. For law enforcement officers it’s like listening in to bugged conversations except they don’t know where the people are. Because the Tor network is designed to conceal location information they certainly can’t go out and nab them. BullGuard products take account of all this information that’s why we have features that are designed to alert you if your credit card details appear on one of these trading platforms. We let you know before someone takes your card details and trades them. This is one of the reasons why you’re safe with BullGuard; we offer identity theft protection to keep you safe from the dark side of the web. Have you had any experience of identity theft or the damage it can cause? 

Written by Steve Bell

Steve has a background in IT and business journalism and has written extensively for both the UK national and trade press including The Guardian, Independent-on-Sunday, The Times, The Register, MicroScope and Computer Weekly. He's also worked for most of the world's largest IT companies producing content producing. He has a particular focus on IT security and has produced several magazines in this area.

More articles by Steve Bell

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