Shocking number of Australian payment cards on the dark web

Disturbingly, hundreds of thousands of Australian card details are sold on the black market for as little as $ 1.40. Here’s what you can do to stay safe.

Over 400,000 Australian bank details have been found on the dark web, some for sale as low as $ 1.40.

Research by software provider NordVPN uncovered more than 4.4 million payment cards available for purchase in 140 countries, with Australia being the second most affected country behind the United States.

Disturbingly, there were 1.5 million cards on sale in the United States, while 419,000 Australian cards were also up for grabs on the dark web, selling for between $ 1.40 and $ 26.

Almost 80% of Australian cards on sale were for debit, which typically offers a lower level of protection than credit, while Australia was rated as the second most vulnerable to card fraud, behind Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, for the Australian card details that were stolen, most came from Visa with almost 220,000 to sell, followed by MasterCard with 192,000 affected, and American Express had 9,000.

Marijus Briedis, chief technology officer of NordVPN, said hackers could easily make a lot of money, with card fraud growing tremendously since 2014.

“Even if a card costs only $ 10 on average, a hacker can make $ 40 million selling a single database, like the one we analyzed,” he said.

He added that database breaches don’t just happen because of poor security, but hackers actually use “brute force” in some cases.

“Forcing brutally is a bit like guessing. Think of a computer trying to guess your password. First he tries 000000, then 000001, then 000002, and so on until he is successful, ”he noted.

“As a computer, it can make thousands of guesses per second. After all, criminals don’t target specific individuals or cards. It’s all about guessing all the viable card details that work to sell.

Oddly enough, this method means that consumers have no way of preventing themselves from becoming victims of card fraud other than tossing them in the trash and not using them.

Instead, Mr Briedis recommended that people check their monthly statement for any suspicious activity and respond promptly and seriously to any advice from their bank that their card may have been used in an unauthorized manner.

“Another recommendation is to have a separate bank account for different purposes and only keep small amounts of money on the one your payment cards are connected to,” he said.

“Some banks also offer temporary virtual cards that you can use if you don’t feel safe shopping online.”

He also advised people to use multi-factor authentication, such as a code texted to your mobile or even a fingerprint.

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