New Delhi: About five million people globally have had their data stolen and sold on a botnet so far, with 600,000 of them from India, making it the worst affected country, according to one of the world’s largest VPN service providers NordVPN. Hackers use bot markets to sell data stolen from victims’ devices with malware. The study, conducted by NordVPN, from Nord Security in Lithuania, said the stolen data included user logins, cookies, digital fingerprints, screenshots and other information, with the average price for a person’s digital ID at INR490 ($5.95).
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NordVPN has tracked data over the past four years, since launching botnet marketplaces in 2018. India has been dealing with cybersecurity concerns for a while. Most recently, in the past month, multiple servers at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), a federal government hospital serving ministers, politicians and the general public, were infected on November 23, a senior police official told Reuters.
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A week after the AIIMS ransomware attack, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) faced around 6,000 hacking attempts within 24 hours on November 30, the Times of India reported. India’s cybersecurity rules were tightened just earlier this year, with India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) requiring tech companies to report data breaches within six hours of noticing such incidents and to keep ICT logs for six months.
NordVPN’s study looked at three major bot markets – the Genesis market, the Russian market, and 2Easy – and found stolen logins including those from Google, Microsoft and Facebook accounts.
“What makes botnet markets different from other dark web markets is that they are able to acquire large amounts of data about a single person in one place,” said Marigos Bridis, NordVPN’s chief technology officer.
“After selling the bot, they guarantee the buyer that the victim’s information will be updated as long as his device is infected with the virus.” NordVPN researchers found 667 million cookies, 81,000 digital fingerprints, 538,000 auto-fill forms, numerous device screenshots, and webcam snapshots in their study.