A new Night Lion Security and Data Viper report provides an inside look at the lucrative economy of hacked consumer gaming accounts, where cybercriminals are earning upwards of $40,000 per week in profits.
According to the report, in 2019 alone, there were more than 4 billion breached records. In 2020 so far, there is an estimated additional 2 billion breached records that have gone up for sale on various darkweb markets. Hacking groups like Gnostic Players and Shiny Hunters account for a vast majority of data breaches involving stolen user data, and are indirectly responsible for fueling an entire criminal economy of stolen accounts. Thanks to their efforts, databases of consumer information are stolen and sold to private buyers, only to be repurposed and used to hack individual consumer accounts. These hacked databases are then sliced up and resold, only to provide ammunition for credential stuffing attacks designed to identify valid accounts across different consumer products. These stolen accounts are then packaged and resold across a number of sub-ecosystems, the most profitable being the market for hacked gaming accounts.
Hacked video game accounts for Fortnite, Roblox, and Minecraft are among the most profitable of all black-market accounts. Collections of a few thousand stolen accounts are grouped together and auctioned in private Telegram channels, selling from anywhere between $10,000 and $40,000.
The research into several black-markets auctions revealed that, on the high end, sellers averaged $25,000 per week, or roughly $1.2 million per year. The lower-end sellers yielded an average of $5,000 per month or $60,000 per year, a total of $40,000 per month, or $480,000 per seller/per year in stolen account sales.
Roblox, Runescape, and Minecraft are three games that appear even more profitable. "Adding a variation of +33%, or 186m per game, brings the total gross profits to $700m/yr for just four video games. We can then confidently predict that an additional 30% revenue, or $300m/yr, can be generated by tallying the black-market sales for every other video game in existence, conservatively making the entire hacked video game market a billion dollar a year industry," says the report.
For the full report, including detailed findings, please visit https://www.dataviper.io/blog/2020/fortnite-cybercrime-economy-report/