Researchers at Sixgill recently discovered more than 23 million stolen debit and credit cards for sale on the dark web. 

The majority of stolen cards found on the site were issued in the US, more than 15 million, making up almost two out of every three cards. The UK was the second biggest hit. 

The researchers noted that only 316 stolen cards were Russian issued, claiming this is due to the relatively low GDP of the country that makes Russian citizens less attractive targets. 

The figure of 23 million is relatively small in comparison to the five billion cards issued globally by American Express, Mastercard and Visa, however, fraud is predicted to cost US businesses and consumers over $12 billion by 2020, so it's something that deserves serious attention.  

Sixgill claims that hackers are moving away from more traditional dark web marketplaces to Instant Relay Chat (IRC) channels and encrypted Telegram chats. This shift makes it more difficult for researchers to monitor them. 

The methods attackers leverage to steal card data vary. They place skimmers on top of card readers at gas pumps and ATM machines, use devices to copy swipes used for payments, infect computers and other devices with malware to record payment data from e-commerce sites, and infiltrate corporate networks and steal millions of records at a time. 

Card information goes for as little as $5 and generally comes in one of two forms: one including all the details of the card, including the CVV, and dumps containing magstripe data that allows criminals to create counterfeit cards. The latter of the two is more popular with hackers because its easier for them to commit fraud online. However, these dumps of magstripe data will most likely become less popular as more retailers and consumers adopt EMV in the United States. 

As retailers continue to be the target of some of the most high profile breaches over the last few years, it's important these organizations protect payment card data from the risk of cyber threats by implementing hardened build standards and real-time file integrity monitoring

At NNT, we combine the essential, foundational controls prescribed by all leading security frameworks like PCI DSS and CIS, with the operational discipline of change management. 

Learn more about NNT Solutions for Retailers 


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