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Research Reveals How Much a Kiwi Credit Card Is Worth on the Dark Web

Posted on 3-Feb-2022 17:55 | Filed under: News

A new study by cybersecurity company NordVPN has analyzed information from 50,000 Kiwi payment cards sold on the dark web. According to this research, the average price of a payment card that originated from New Zealand is 28 New Zealand dollars and 17 cents.


“Payment cards from New Zealand are so expensive (compared to the NZ$ 15 world average) because the high living standard inside the country attracts fraudsters. If a lost or stolen payment card is used in a fraudulent manner, the liability falls onto the bank or the merchant. However, the rules that describe which cases of fraud in New Zealand must be reimbursed are rather abstract and leave room for interpretation, which in many cases isn’t favourable to the consumer,” Marijus Briedis, CTO at NordVPN, says.


The prices of the discovered Kiwi payment cards varied from NZ$ 1 to NZ$ 38. Even though the most common card price (49,668 cards found) was NZ$ 30.50, the average price of all the found cards was NZ$ 28.17.


The most expensive cards could be found in Japan (average price NZ$ 65.50), while the cheapest cards on the dark web belonged to Honduras (average price less than NZ$ 1).


“Prices of cards depend mostly on demand. The greater the demand, the more money criminals can charge for certain data they try to sell. In this case, the demand directly correlates with how easy it is to steal money from a card and how much money could be stolen. That is why the most expensive cards come from countries with a higher quality of life or poorer bank security measures,” says Marijus Briedis. 


A total of 49,668 payment cards found hacked belonged to Kiwis. The most affected county was the US with 1,561,739 out of 4,481,379 payment cards found for sale. The second most affected nation was Australia, with 419,806 cards discovered for sale on the dark web.


Knowing that New Zealand doesn’t have the highest credit card penetration, 50K is pretty high. The reason for the high number could be the lack of well defined national guidelines for reimbursement in case of fraud, which puts consumers at the mercy of individual bank’s internal policies, in turn making New Zealand a lucrative place for fraudsters, as banks do not have proper incentive to increase the security of individual accounts.


“The most common way those payment cards end up for sale is brute-forcing. That means that criminals basically try to guess the card number and CVV. The first 6-8 numbers are the card issuer’s ID number. That leaves hackers with 7-9 numbers to guess, as the 16th digit is a checksum and is used only to determine whether any mistakes were made when entering the number,” Marijus Briedis explains. 


To protect themselves, users are recommended to stay vigilant and review their monthly statements regularly to make sure no suspicious transactions have occurred. It is also important to choose a bank according to the security measures it has implemented.


“The Kiwi example shows that proper security measures should be prioritized in banks and can help users to be safer. Banks can use tools like fraud detection to track payment attempts to weed out fraudulent attacks. Stronger password systems are also a huge step towards preventing card fraud, but fortunately, multi-factor authentication is becoming the minimum standard. So if your bank doesn’t offer it already, demand it or consider switching banks,” Marijus Briedis from NordVPN concludes.


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