Terbium Labs Takes to Task Existing Research on Dark Web Data Pricing

Investigative Research Team Examines 22 Reports on Dark Web Data Pricing to Find No Consistency and Misleading Results

BALTIMORE, Oct. 02, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Terbium Labs, the premier dark web intelligence company, today released a meta-analysis by its investigative team of reports dating back to 2013 that examine the cost of data for sale on the dark web.  Researchers and cybersecurity firms periodically publish reports on the going rates for goods and services on the dark web to help educate and inform the greater public on identity theft and fraud.  Of the 22 reports examined, Terbium Labs found that despite these good intentions, the inconsistent terminology and haphazard collection strategies used only add to an already confusing picture of the dark web.

Terbium Labs’ mission is to help organizations determine if their sensitive data has appeared on the dark web and to minimize the risk of inevitable data exposure.  To this end, the research conducted focused on reports covering pricing data for accounts such as online banking or social media accounts, and identity information such as payment card data, Social Security numbers, or “fullz.” The research did not look at popular services and physical goods found on the dark web such as hacking tutorials, malware, drugs, or forged documents.

Key findings from “The Truth About Dark Web Pricing” report include:

  • Reports on dark web pricing are doing more harm than good. Systemic inconsistencies in data collection, definitions, and sampling methodologies used to highlight the cost of data goods on the dark web only add to the fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) that permeates the industry, providing little constructive value.
  • Inconsistent data collection and cherry-picking prevents researchers from understanding and studying the dark web effectively. From a single report, organizations might know what a subset of their information is worth at a specific moment in time.  Most reports however, contained isolated samples with prices significantly higher than average. These reports also failed to provide any context for the larger trends in pricing, the overall market, or the scale of data compromise.  
  • As cybercrime becomes increasingly professionalized and sophisticated, the cybersecurity industry must hold itself to a higher standard of research. Rather than relying on anecdotes designed to drive traffic and generate fear, researchers and cybersecurity vendors need to develop a universal classification for the goods and services on the dark web and adopt collections strategies that take a more holistic view of dark web pricing.

These findings have motivated Terbium Labs to call on the industry to develop a consistent shared taxonomy of digital goods available for sale.  Ideally, the industry would adopt a price index to measure pricing fluctuations in a standardized manner.  Only with the development of agreed-upon definitions and measures of sensitive data pricing on the dark web can organizations begin to collaborate more effectively to combat the threat and minimize the risks associated with dark-web-enabled fraud.

“Instead of focusing on snapshots of pricing in time, Terbium Labs seeks to analyze fraud on the dark web economy at scale, focusing on the dynamics affecting the shifts in supply and demand,” said Munish Walther-Puri, Chief Research Officer at Terbium Labs. “We are committed to a data-driven approach for dark web research, one that puts standards and verifiable truths ahead of scare tactics.”

For a complete copy of “The Truth About Dark Web Pricing” and to learn more about the consequences of these findings for the security industry, media and research community, go to https://go.terbiumlabs.com/wp-the-truth-about-dark-web-pricing-pr

About Terbium Labs
Terbium Labs gives organizations unprecedented visibility into their exposure on the dark web. Leveraging Matchlight, the world’s most comprehensive, continuous and fully private dark-web data monitoring system, along with a team of on-demand analysts to assist with incident response and investigation, Terbium Labs provides the real-time intelligence, context, and scale needed to prevent fraud, mitigate risk, and ensure round-the-clock account protection. Featuring its patented data-fingerprinting technology that monitors for specific data without requiring it be shared with Terbium Labs or stored anywhere, and built on top of a state-of-the-art web crawler, Matchlight is available as a managed service for corporate data exposure or as a data source for payment card or other unstructured data.  Learn more about Terbium Labs’ approach to dark-web monitoring, breach detection, and fraud prevention by visiting www.terbiumlabs.com or on Twitter @TerbiumLabs.

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