MENU
component-ddb-728x90-v1-01-desktop

Reality Check: Criminals on dark web can steal, sell your information

“On the dark web, people are selling credit card information that's been stolen, debit cards. They're stealing social security numbers. Occasionally, they sell weapons, and they sell a lot of drugs,” John Bumgarner, a cyber threat intelligence expert, said. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

“On the dark web, people are selling credit card information that's been stolen, debit cards. They're stealing social security numbers. Occasionally, they sell weapons, and they sell a lot of drugs,” John Bumgarner, a cyber threat intelligence expert, said.

Bumgarner knows all about what goes on in a small part of the internet most people cannot access.

“It’s a bigger market. You can buy access to more drugs, and these drugs are coming from all over the world,” he said.

One site on the dark web has listings for cannabis, the synthetic drug MDMA and benzos, which are downers. The site is set up like craigslist.

"The drug deal is not taking place on the average street corner. It's taking place in the virtual world, and, in this world, the seller is protected,” Bumgarner said.

Protected because there are access encryptions that have to be entered after getting into a browser like Tor -- a place that takes expertise to access.

“I’m sure there are people here in Asheville and the surrounding counties that are using the dark web to purchase illicit drugs,” Bumgarner said.

Users often pay with virtual currency like bitcoin or pre-paid debit cards that have cash on them but no ID tracer.

As for local investigations, there are none.

“The Asheville Police Department doesn’t have the resources to work on these cases, but the FBI has a large cyber-crime unit in Charlotte that can work on it,” Bumgarner said.

The dark web also has sites that sell bundles of stolen credit cards and even paypal accounts.

Bumgarner said people who have credit card or debit numbers stolen or their identification stolen can potentially have that information end up in bundled packages sold on the dark web.

Bumgarner used a website called haveibeenpwned to see if an individual’s emails have been compromised. He checked several and found accounts for sites from Dropbox to Adobe had been compromised.

Bumgarner said the key is to change passwords and make them hard to crack. Bumgarner owns the Asheville cyber-threat consulting company Actionoble. He said a good site to save passwords is lastpass.com.

At Edna's coffee shop on North Merrimon, Bumgarner checked email addresses of several people, finding some had been breached.

"Good news, you haven't been breached," he told one person.

But the next wasn't so lucky.

"This email has been associated with eight data breaches," he said. "They stole your credit status information, your date of birth, email addresses."

And criminals take this information and sell it or broker the information out.

Trending