Once your PC is hacked, your ecommerce passwords go on sale at $2 a pop

Brian Krebs writes about how hackers have expanded the ways they extract value from compromised PCs. No longer is a compromised machine merely good for forming part of a botnet or forwarding spam. New strains of malware extract all your login/passwords for ecommerce sites, and these are then put on sale at $2 a throw on sites like Freshtools.

Increasingly, miscreants are setting up their own storefronts to sell stolen credentials for an entire shopping mall of online retail establishments. Freshtools, for example, sells purloined usernames and passwords for working accounts at overstock.com, dell.com, walmart.com, all for $2 each. The site also sells fedex.com and ups.com accounts for $5 a pop, no doubt to enable fraudulent reshipping schemes. Accounts that come with credentials to the email addresses tied to each site can fetch a dollar or two more.

Another store widely advertised in the Underweb (see screenshot above) pimps credentials for a far broader array of retailers, most of which can be had for $2, including amazon.com, apple.com, autotrader.co.uk, bestbuy.com, bloomgingdales.com, bol.com, cdw.com, drugstore.com, ebay.co.uk, ebay.com, facebook.com, gamestop.com, gumtree.com, kohls.com, logmein.com, lowes.com, macys.com, mylikes.com, newegg.com, next.co.uk.com, okpay.com, paypal.com, payza.com, runescape.com, sephora.com, skype.com, target.com, toysrus.com, ukash.com, verizon.com, walmart.com, xoom.com and zappos.com. Accounts at these retailers that have credit cards or bank accounts tied to them command higher prices.

This a glimpse into the complex ecosystem of online crime. The person who writes the malware sells it to someone who's got a useful vector (a hacked website, say) for distributing it. The distributor extracts the ecommerce logins and flogs them to someone else who has access to a stooge who does freight forwarding. The freight forwarder acts as a dead-drop for some other crook who's wholesaling to dirty retailers, and so on. It's like a distributed badware version of Adam Smith's pin factory.

Exploring the Market for Stolen Passwords