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Here’s How Much Your Private Data Is Worth – From $5.20 For Facebook To $247 For PayPal



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Mar 24 2018
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Zuckerberg has finally apologised after the Cambridge Analytica scandal erased tens of billions of dollars from his company’s market capitalization. But the defiant billionaire did so only after he was criticised for his failure to apologize in his initial admission in a Facebook post that he “made mistakes” and would “do” more to protect users’ data.

 

After Friday’s closing bell where Facebook stock plunged to US$159.39, the social media has lost more than US$75 billion since the data breach scandal exploded on March 16. If only Zuckerberg had listened to late Steve Jobs about 8 years ago when the Apple supremo warned and lectured the young Facebook founder on the issue of privacy.

 

And the party has just begun. Already hit with four lawsuits over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the social media could see more coming – either from Facebook users, shareholders or government. It’s hard to see how Facebook could escape unscathed when even the U.S. government is sharpening its knife.

Facebook Earnings Stock Analysts Grills - Zuckerberg

The privacy violations due to data breach have raised the question about how much does Facebook data actually worth. This subject is important because 50 million users’ data had been improperly accessed. Lawsuits seeking monetary damages will definitely grill and drill on this issue for maximum compensation.

 

Turns out, your Facebook data, and other online data for that matter, isn’t that valuable. Of course, it’s still sketchy how much money, if there was any, had changed hands when Professor Aleksandr Kogan passed those invaluable data (which he had gotten from Facebook) to Cambridge Analytica through his company Global Science Research (GSR).

 

And it’s still unknown how much Cambridge Analytica had profited from its customers after those data were harvested and analysed to strategically target electoral process. For as little as US$5.20, your Facebook logins can be sold on the “dark web” marketplaces such as Dream, Point and Wall Street Market – according to content marketing agency Fractl.

Dark Web - Hacker - Internet Login

Dark web – the underground of Internet – is part of the World Wide Web that is only accessible by means of special software, such as Tor browser, allowing users and website operators to remain anonymous or untraceable. This is the marketplace flourished with illegal substances including drugs, pirated music and of course, stolen data.

 

The value of Facebook logins is quite pathetic in the dark web because they allow criminals to have access to personal data that could potentially let them hack into more of an individual’s accounts. What this means is the 50 million Facebook data could potentially fetch US$260 million, if Professor Kogan had sold them based on the dark web pricing.

 

Higher on the market price is PayPal credentials which could command US$247 for an account with relatively high balance. An Uber account is worth US$7, while a DHL account has a higher price of US$10.40. Logins for food delivery websites such as Grubhub can be sold for about US$9 because they allow criminals to fraudulently order expensive food and alcohol.

Average Price of Internet Login Credential on Dark Web - Graph

A credential for lodging site Airbnb can be sold for about US$8 because it opens up “a world of scams” – scammers could change hosts’ payment details to steal their earnings, or use them to assume the identities of well-reviewed guests in order to book their own stays. The cheapest data is email account such as GMail – sold for as cheap as one buck (US$1) only.

 

The truth is, despite spending hours of their time – and even money – to get “likes” and friends, Facebook users’ private data are worthless in the dark web. That’s because there have been too much personal data stolen and sold by hackers. Like any robbery, the hackers would sell the personal data they have stolen as fast as they can.

 

But if you think Facebook data is dirt cheap, think again. Instagram accounts go for as little as US$1.29 to buyers on the dark web while Twitter details only fetch US$1.69 per login. Facebook data is relatively more valuable than other social media data because it contains more information – profile picture, photo albums, statuses, messages, friends, videos, comments and events.

Get Hired At Facebook - Connecting People

Even a more comprehensive online identity, typically including personal identification numbers and hacked financial accounts, can be sold for only about US$1,200 on the dark web. Rick McElroy, a security strategist at the security firm Carbon Black, said – “With 5.3 billion records released due to accidents and 2.6 billion records leaked due to hacking last year, personal information is becoming cheap.”

 

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