This indicates a disturbing trend of bad actors leveraging advertiser-generated, personal consumer datasets for their own monetary gains. The lines between how companies do business and how cyber criminals make money are blurring.
In a message recently uploaded to a dark web forum, a hacker solicited bids on an illegally obtained commodity. This wasn't typical contraband, like drugs or porn — it was a set of personal data from thousands of plus-size women. Others in the dark web forum discussed how to monetize the women's personal data by targeting them with scams meant to sell weight-loss supplements or plus-size clothing. The original poster included a sample set of a few thousand women's data, most living in the US, suggesting the full set included hundreds of thousands of data points. The hacker gained unauthorized access to the data from women's clothing websites, according to DynaRisk. The hackers' activity is notable because it reflects a new strategy hackers are using to maximize their profit from illegally obtained data, according to DynaRisk CEO Andrew Martin.