Stolen Twitter account often worth more than stolen credit card - KMSP-TV

Stolen Twitter account often worth more than stolen credit card

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Stolen Twitter accounts can demand a higher asking price than stolen credit cards on internet black markets, according to a new study by the nonprofit RAND Corporation.

"A Twitter account costs more to purchase than a stolen credit card because the former's account credentials potentially have a greater yield," the research report said.

Basically, stolen credit cards hold a high value immediately after a data breach, but the value starts to plunge as more accounts flood the market and more victims cancel those accounts.

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For example, credit cards that hit the black market in the Target data breach were initially priced at $20 to $135 per account, but have since dropped to just 75 cents.

So what makes a Twitter account more valuable?

1. Recycled passwords: Many people use the same password for their social media accounts as they do for online banking or other secured sites.

2. Phishing schemes: A malicious owner of a hacked Twitter account could target friends and family with sophisticated "spear-phishing" schemes. Posing as you, they may ask friends and family for their passwords, or posing as a hacked corporate account, they could target followers with links to dummy "password reset" web pages.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO

Michael Callahan, a vice president with Juniper Networks security division, offers the following tips to protect yourself:

- Use different passwords for each site that contains personal or financial information.

- Be careful opening emails from people you don't know and don't click on links from unknown sources.

- Monitor your personal and financial accounts closely to identify and report fraudulent activity.

RAND report: http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR610.html

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