Undercover operation reveals how hackers profit off stolen data

An undercover operation on the dark web has shed light on how hackers sell stolen data -- and how much it’s worth.

An RSA cybercrime intelligence team went undercover in the dark web to identify trends of cyber-criminal behavior. The researchers discovered new tactics hackers are using and the new industries they are targeting.

RSA's director of fraud, risk intelligence and identity management shared the findings exclusively with FOX Business, saying hackers are getting creative and looking for more ways to profit off personal data.

“The dark web is actually a full economy, a full market, and it’s all about buying and selling goods and diversifying goods that are being bought and sold,” RSA’s Angel Grant told FOX Business.

During the operation, researchers found the most lucrative and valuable info hackers can get their hands on is any information tied to a financial institution.

Cyber criminals are willing to pay up to $15 per account, but that’s not the only data they'll pay up for.

“We saw an interesting pattern where industries like health care, like dating services, like travel and hospitality are being targeted more,” Grant said, adding that hackers will pay up to $10 for data from online dating sites. “The premium for those log-in credentials and information is pretty high.”

Grant said criminals can harvest personal information from your profile to socially engineer a “synthetic identity” and will use that to get access to your financial information.

A big target for hackers leading up to the holidays are users’ travel loyalty points with hotels and airlines.

“These hospitality programs can actually be used for things other than booking a hotel or booking a flight. It can be used for things such as gift cards. … It’s interesting to see cyber criminals as they are diversifying their goods and trying new tactics in new industries,” she said.

Cybercrime is quickly emerging from the dark web economy and operating in plain sight, according to Grant.

During its research, RSA found over 500 social media forums actively being used by hackers to buy and sell stolen data.