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Your online reputation may be worth more than money

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

An account on an “online auction site” like eBay can fetch up to £1,400 on illicit marketplaces, much more than what some credit cards and bank accounts are sold for. The value comes from the reputation — the amount of reviews and comments, that the account has accumulated.

The finding comes from a report by internet security firm McAfee, which shows that value in the underground economy does not lie solely in hacked bank accounts and credit cards.

McAfee’s research of the online marketplace for compromised payment accounts shows a steep discount is paid for illicit access to money. Credit cards details can be had for as little as $US 5 in the United States, or $US 45 for a chip-enabled card in Europe. While access to an online payment account with a balance of $US 8,000 can be bought for as little as $US 300.

Where the data gets interesting are the other accounts that can be bought and sold. Access to online streaming services like HBO Go, sports streaming and even premium porn services can be sold for between $US 10 and $US 15. Even more than credit cards.

All this shows is the underground economy for stolen data is reacting to moves by financial companies to eliminate fraud. The underground economy is also surprisingly sophisticated, and could get more so as business models evolve, like the creation of affiliate programs for those who assist hacking campaigns.

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