According to a new report by Juniper, the value of hacked Twitter accounts on the black market is greater than stolen credit card data. Twitter accounts have become high-yield on the black market for both the access the account provides to a user’s other accounts, and the increased value of a “real” account to spammers.
In December 2013, retail giants including Target saw data from an estimated 40 million credit cards and 70 million user accounts hijacked. Within days, sensitive customer data, including home addresses and login information — appeared for sale on blackmarket sites. What began as a reported range of $20–$135 per account plummeted to $0.75/record.
Juniper Networks employee Michael Callahan explained that social media accounts are now becoming more valuable than the cash cow of yore, credit cards. He elaborated on the RAND report’s findings saying, “Although prices range widely, RAND found hacked accounts can be worth anywhere from $16 to $325+ depending on the account type.”
Even spam Twitter accounts are worth five times the value of a spam Yahoo account, according to the RAND report’s citation “The Role of the Underground Market in Twitter Spam and Abuse” (.PDF).