When TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. are pirated, what happens to them? If you’ve ever asked yourself this question, part of the answer is provided by a recent AltasVPN post (our VPN review).
In collaboration with Whizcase, this VPN service provider publishes the results of a study carried out by extracting data from the darkweb between January 2022 and September 2022. Just as a reminder, the darkweb is the “hidden” part of the internet, where many illegal businesses, including the sale of hacked accounts.
Darkweb prices revealed by a study
And precisely, the study published by AtlasVPN allows us to know the prices at which our accounts on social networks would be sold, if hackers manage to take control of them.
According to the AtlasVPN and Whizcase study, here are the prices (per unit) of hacked accounts on the dark web:
- Reddit: $6
- TikTok: $8
- Pinterest: $9
- Twitter: $10
- Snapchat: $11
- Instagram: $12
- Discord: $12
- Facebook: $14
- LinkedIn: $45
As you can see, hacked accounts are not worth much. However, if a hacker manages to hack a large volume of accounts, they can still make big numbers. Moreover, the study specifies that sales are made in bulk, and it is not uncommon for the buyer to buy hundreds or thousands of accounts.
And the prices may vary depending on the marketplace where these accounts are sold. Otherwise, the AtlasVPN post explains that the LinkedIn account is more valuable simply because the social network caters to a professional clientele.
To protect themselves, in addition to the fact that they use the dark web, the marketplaces would only be accessible by invitation.
What are these hacked accounts for?
A priori, when an entity buys hacked accounts en masse, it is not really interested in personal data. According to the study, hackers can turn these hacked accounts into “robots” to artificially inflate a customer’s social media presence.
“The advantage of this method over the creation of direct bot accounts is that the stolen accounts were previously owned by real individuals, which makes manipulation operations considerably harder for social networks to identify”says AtlasVPN.
For example, hackers can charge $25 for every 1,000 retweets of a Twitter post. And these retweets will appear legitimate since they will come from accounts that belonged to real people. To boost the number of followers of a Facebook page with 1,000 likes, it would be $8. And to get 1,000 new Instagram followers, that would be $6. Furthermore, the customer would be able to choose the country of origin of these false likes or retweets, by paying an additional fee.
“This demonstrates the importance of exercising caution when viewing popular or highly engaging content on social media. Someone could make a profile or post extremely popular by spending less than a hundred dollars,” prevents publication.
Will the end of passwords end this problem?
Although accounts continue to be hacked, it is clear that today we have more and more ways to protect our identity online. For example, on the platforms, you can enable two-step verification, so that your account cannot be stolen, even if the password is stolen.
And besides, the password is about to disappear, which will make our accounts even less vulnerable. Currently, Apple already supports passkeys technology, which replaces passwords with a system of cryptographic keys. And Google is also preparing to support it on Chrome and Android.
By: TikTok Pte. ltd.