Log-Ins Are For Sale On Dark Web For Accounts At Major Brokerage Firms. Robinhood Fetches Highest Prices

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Written by Dana Sanchez
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Log-Ins Are For Sale On Dark Web For Accounts At Major Brokerage Firms. Robinhood Fetches Highest Prices. Image: MMG

Dozens of brokerage account log-ins are for sale on the dark web, with vulnerable accounts ranging from social media sites and payments app Square to trading startup Robinhood, according to security analysts and listings seen by CNBC

Hackers gained access to almost 2,000 Robinhood trading accounts in a spate of attacks that left users with little recourse, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.

For just a few dollars, criminals are selling customer credentials from E*Trade, Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade and others, New York-based security firm Intsights reported. Demand has increased during the pandemic, according to the firm’s chief security officer, Etay Maor.

“What you end up with is a lot of credentials and a lot of information being bought and sold on the criminal underground,” Maor told CNBC.

Five Robinhood customers told Bloomberg that they were left in limbo after their accounts were hacked, their funds withdrawn and their investments sold. There was no emergency phone number to call at Robinhood.

Some Robinhood users said they contacted the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Robinhood is a wildly popular, no-fee brokerage app in Silicon Valley with 13 million users that has thrived during the coronavirus pandemic as stock prices went on crazy ups and downs. Millions of Americans stuck at home, especially millennials, signed on to the app.

The startup was valued at nearly $12 billion as of a September funding round, Business Insider reported.

Robinhood account log-ins tend to fetch higher prices on the dark web, according to screenshots of listings seen by CNBC.

Hackers can find most of what they need to break into someone’s account on the dark web, which requires specific software or authorization to access. Criminals might take previously known username and passwords, and try using it on a brokerage site. Phishing, another type of attack, results from an email link that if clicked, could enable a hacker to take over your computer and log in from there. Some sell access to entire computers that have been compromised. Intsights said they have seen access to logins being sold in bulk for discounted prices ranging from $3 to $30.

Source: CNBC

“They were on a higher price point which leads us to believe they were probably easier to get the credentials for and get in, or easier to cash out,” Maor said.

A Robinhood spokesperson told CNBC that it had seen instances of accounts targeted by criminals this year, but the hacks originated outside of Robinhood’s systems, according to the company.

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“A limited number of customers appear to have had their Robinhood account targeted by cyber criminals because of their personal email account being compromised outside of Robinhood,” a company spokesperson told CNBC. “We’re actively working with those impacted to secure their accounts.”

The Treasury Department Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) said it has seen $1 billion worth of financial crimes each month since the pandemic started. That includes more than 60,000 reports of identity-related cyber crime since February.

Critics have accused the Robinhood brokerage of “gamifying” investing to the point that inexperienced clients can cause themselves financial harm, Business Insider reported. In June, a young options trader killed himself after seeing a large negative portfolio that did not reflect his actual balance.

This week, Robinhood sent a push notification through its app encouraging users to implement two-factor authentication.