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8 Ways Hackers Monetize Stolen Data

Hackers are craftier than ever, pilfering PII piecemeal so bad actors can combine data to set up schemes to defraud medical practices, steal military secrets and hijack R&D product information.

Steve Zurier

April 17, 2018

9 Slides

We are long past the era of the 14-year old teenage hacker trying to spoof a corporate or defense network for the fun of it, just because they can. While that still happens, it’s clear that hacking has become big business.

From China allegedly stealing billions of dollars annually in intellectual property to ransomware attacks estimated to top $5 billion in 2017, data breaches and the resulting cybercrime are keeping CISO and rank-and-file security managers on their toes.

Security teams need to be aware of the full range of what hackers do with this stolen data. The crimes range from stolen IP to filing fraudulent tax rebates to the IRS to setting up a phony medical practice to steal money from Medicare and Medicaid patients and providers.

"Hackers will often start by selling data on military or government accounts," says Mark Laliberte, an information security analyst at WatchGuard Technologies. "People are also bad at choosing passwords for individual services and often reuse passwords, which lets hackers try those passwords on the other websites their victims use."

Paul Calatayud, chief security officer, Americas, at Palo Alto Networks, says medical data has become especially vulnerable because many hospitals and medical practices use the same cloud-based ERP or human resources systems and hackers can piece together information and eventually enter a billing or patient information system.

For this slideshow, we explain how hackers monetize the stolen data. The following list is based on phone interviews with Laliberte and Calatayud.

About the Author(s)

Steve Zurier

Contributing Writer, Dark Reading

Steve Zurier has more than 30 years of journalism and publishing experience and has covered networking, security, and IT as a writer and editor since 1992. Steve is based in Columbia, Md.

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