Data breaches have become more common lately. And whilst sometimes the motivation for stealing data can be to embarrass major companies, or to gather data for espionage, the most common reason for stealing data is to make money. In fact, 86% of data breaches are about money. 

How much money can hackers make?

Hackers make money from data by selling it on marketplaces on the dark web, which work like most marketplaces – on supply and demand. The harder data is to get, the more they can sell it for. That means, a massive data dump of email addresses will lower the value of each one.

In general, the more details provided, the more valuable the data is. For example, a username alone will be worth less than one with the corresponding password. And the prices of these vary, from $0.70 – $2.30 for an email and password, to $1 for Netflix logins to $2.75 for Spotify. Credit card information can sell for as high as $8-$22.

What is the most valuable type of data?

Whilst credit card or banking details seem like the obvious choice for hackers to make money, it isn’t the most valuable data available currently. Health data is. Credit card and banking details have a short life span, so once the victim realises their details have been stolen, they will cancel the cards and alert their banks.

Health data, however, has more permanent information and is a lot more personal. It can be used to blackmail people and organisations into handing over vast amounts of money to protect patients’ data. For example, a Finnish psychotherapy practice was recently hacked. The hackers threatened both the clinic and the patients to release their data unless they were paid €200 worth of bitcoin. 

These days, when it’s common to hand over personal details in exchange for services, it’s almost impossible to avoid having your data stolen. But in future, it may be worth thinking about what data you’re giving away, and whether you really need to.