Children’s personal information at risk due to cyberattacks

  • Cybercriminals are stealing children’s personal information and selling it in underground marketplaces.
  • Children’s private data is sold in the underground forums for $25 per child’s data.

What is the issue - Cybercriminals are stealing children’s personal information and selling in the underground marketplaces.

Why it matters - The children’s stolen sensitive information is used for fraudulent purchases, loans, and fake transactions.

Worth noting - Children’s private data is sold in the underground forums for $25 per child’s data.

The big picture

Children’s personally identifiable information is sold at the underground marketplace as ‘Child fullz’ which includes children’s names, dates of birth, addresses, social security numbers, and more.

  • Demand for children’s data is at a peak as the stolen data could be easily used for applying for large fraudulent loans as children are most likely not to have any credit history.
  • Vendors offer a free pass for loans for individuals with no credit history.
  • Therefore, cyber crooks will use the stolen information of the child to make fraudulent claims for the child tax credit.

“Vendors pride themselves on having fresh data that their buyers are able to exploit effectively.Child data by design is fresh, in most cases it's not going to have been exploited before, this is the first time these children are being caught up in a data breach – especially for very young children,” Emily Wilson, VP of research at Terbium Labs told ZDNet.

How is it done?

  • The fraudsters create a synthetic ID with the stolen information and link it to the social security number.
  • They then approach banks to apply for loans with the blank credit history.
  • Banks will often approve the loans because of the blank credit history.

Wilson noted that such frauds will often go unnoticed for upto 20 years because parents will never monitor their child’s credit as they never expect their child’s credit to be exploited.

What is the solution?

There are no checks to determine the authenticity of an application.

“There aren't really checks in place to stop them using data from a six-month-old to take out a credit card or a loan. Once fraudsters start with these low-level credit applications, over time they can build up a profile and they can amass all different lines of credit,” Wilson said.

Banks and vendors must tighten their policies for offering loans and must conduct regular checks in order to stop such frauds.

“Now we know this is an issue, now we recognize that there need to be checks in place to not only to keep consumers safe, but protect financial institutions, retailers,” Wilson added.

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