WASHINGTON - Hackers are selling Facebook logins on the dark web, according to new research.
For just a few bucks, someone could have access to your social media data. And for a few hundred dollars, they could buy your entire online footprint.
It isn't a new phenomenon, but the latest research is thrusting the seedy marketplace into the forefront of public awareness and showing it's more prevalent than the layman previously realized.
"Social media is just a honeypot for gathering information on people," explained Mary Beth Borgwing, president of Standish Cyber Corporation. "We give a lot of our personal identifiable information on social media."
Money Guru found Facebook logins available for purchase for just $2.60 on the dark web. The research comes just days after Facebook announced 50 million accounts had been hacked.
"They are going after Facebook, they are going after Google, they are going after these people that have large amounts of data because it's easy for them," added Borgwing.
It turns out financial data is also available on the cheap. Credit card information was found posted on the dark web for a little as $14. According to Money Guru's findings, someone's entire online identity - access to online shopping accounts, entertainment services and social media profiles - could be bought for $972.
"Everybody thinks these are kids in a basement, but these are businesses," said Borgwing. "These are well-run, well-oiled machines of businesses on the dark web. It is the new marketplace."
So what can people do to avoid being a commodity?
"You have to think before you act," Borgwing advised. "Just like when you go out and drive a car, you have to stop at the stop lights and the stop signs. And you think about who is in the traffic lane. Well, think about who is in the internet, the deep and dark web traffic lane."
Borgwing also advises people practice good "cyber hygiene." That means cleaning up your internet footprint, changing passwords often and making them complicated.
For important financial information, Borgwing advises against sending mass amounts of data all in one place.
"If you have to give someone personal information, do it in different ways," she said. "Do some by text, some by voice, some by email. Break things up. Do not give large amounts of your banking in one single source."