Hacked user data sold for $140M of crypto in 8 months

Hacked user data sold for $140M of crypto in 8 months

Research shows that vendors on the darknet got at least $140 million in revenue in 2020-2021 by selling hacked data products.

Recent research by The Conversation reveals that from Sep. 1, 2020, through Apr. 30, 2021, 2,158 vendors advertised at least one of the 96,672 hacked data products.

Marketplace data shows 632,207 sales for 3,222 listings, which generated $140,337,999 in total revenue. On average, the marketplaces had 26,342 sales and generated $5,847,417 in revenue. The three largest markets — Apollon, WhiteHouse, and Agartha — contained 58% of all vendors.

How hackers sell data on the darknet

Data breaches make the news quite often, but most people are left wondering what happens to the data after such cyberattacks happen. Those who studied deep web markets know that much of this data ends up being sold on deep web black markets, but in-depth research also shows that it also goes through a supply chain consisting of producers, wholesalers, and consumers.

Black hat hackers are the producers of this illegal commodity: they find and exploit vulnerable systems to obtain data ranging from emails and names to credit card numbers, document scans, and social security numbers. For instance, stealing thousands or even hundreds of thousands of identity theft kits is a whole other endeavor that requires specialized skills and connections.

For this reason, hackers work with wholesalers who then sell this data to retail resellers. Resellers, in their turn, make this data available on deep web markets.

In a recent article, Crypto.news pointed out that many in the space claim that the infamous deep web black market Silk Road was a misuse of Bitcoin. However, the archives of cypherpunk conversations clearly show the coin was created to allow for such marketplaces.

Timothy C. May — one of the most notable cypherpunks and author of the crypto-anarchist manifesto — predicted in his 1988 Crypto-anarchist Manifesto:

“Crypto anarchy will allow national secrets to be traded freely and will allow illicit and stolen materials to be traded. An anonymous computerized market will even make possible abhorrent markets for assassinations and extortion.”

Timothy C. May
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Adrian Zmudzinski

Adrian Zmudzinski is a cryptocurrency journalist with over 3,000 articles under his belt. He is passionate about cryptocurrencies, digital rights, information technology and futurology — the things that he likes to cover the most. Adrian previously reported for Cointelegraph and Benzinga.