Black market pricing of stolen credit card numbers show importance of security

Once card information was obtained, the data was sold on the black market. European based-cards retailed for $50 apiece while American ones were priced at $10.

Whenever a thief is able to steal a large number of items from a home, business or storage facility, certain items are going to fetch a higher price tag. That makes sense, as a box that has jewelry in it will be worth more on the black market than old DVDs or items with just sentimental value. This would seem to be the case with any kinds of theft, even credit card information that is pilfered from a hacked point of sales system.

A recent article from the Washington Post examined the bust of an Eastern European cyber criminal ring that lead to the arrest of several individuals who stole credit card information from companies like NASDAQ, J.C. Penney and 7-Eleven. It was a scheme that lasted for at least seven years and racked up hundreds of millions of dollars.

Once card information was obtained, the data was sold on the black market. European based-cards retailed for $50 apiece while American ones were priced at $10. The question becomes, why is that the case?

According to Levi Gundert, a former U.S. Secret Service agent who is quoted in the article, the ultimate goal of any hacker group committing this kind of crime is the "monetization potential—if you have individuals who have successfully monetized a specific type of card there will be increased demand."

This means that it is easy to make money from European-based cards. This be the case because there's less of a security infrastructure around overseas cards, making them easier to exploit. Transactions from European travelers may also take more time to process, meaning criminals have more time with the card before the fraud can be reported.

Regardless of the reasons, this shows that businesses need to ensure they have proper credit card processing equipment to make sure all information is secure.