The darknet markets are not just about drugs. Many vendors on AlphaBay, which is the darknet’s largest market, sell information such as credit card numbers and login details for Netflix and other online accounts.
One of the most interesting pieces of information that can be bought on the darknet markets—and many online hacker forums for that matter—is a hacked Xfinity account from Comcast. With someone else’s Xfinity account information, a person can watch live TV and On Demand programming, but more importantly, the login details can be used to gain access to Xfinity WiFi hotspots in the United States, which essentially means nearly free internet.
How It Works
So what does someone have to do to gain access to a hacked Xfinity account? Not much.
After downloading Tor and visiting one of the darknet markets, a simple search for “Xfinity” will bring up a variety of vendors who are willing to sell account information. On Alphabay, a seemingly reputable vendor is selling lifetime access to Xfinity accounts for $5.
Once the account details are sent over in a timely fashion, they can be tested on the nearest Xfinity WiFi access point. Anyone who lives in an apartment building will likely be able to find such an access point from the comfort of their own home. If the account details don’t seem to be working, a quick support message to the vendor will result in login details for another hacked account being sent over.
In addition to Xfinity, darknet vendors also sell access to hacked login credentials for Netflix, Spotify, and many other subscription services.
What are the Downsides?
While using someone’s hacked Xfinity account details to gain access to the internet won’t seem like a real choice to some, others have found the dirt cheap price to be too good to ignore.
It’s extremely unlikely that these purchases will actually lead to free internet for an entire lifetime. That said, $5 for even just a few months of Internet access can be attractive to someone who simply cannot afford their own subscription.
Xfinity login credentials have been known to last months before the true account owners realize what’s up, but sometimes it can be annoying to have to message a vendor for replacement account details every now and then. Then again, those who are on extremely tight budgets are willing to go the extra mile to get that cheap internet access. The concept is similar to those who are willing to go through the process of torrenting a movie rather than simply paying for it on iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon.
It’s unclear what steps Comcast is taking to track down those who are using hacked account credentials to gain access to Xfinity hotspots at this time.
Bitcoin Incentivizes Better Security Practices
Perhaps one of the most underappreciated attributes of bitcoin is its ability to incentivize normal people to care more about computer security—ransomware is likely the best example of this phenomenon. With ransomware, the financial incentives for hackers to put malware on as many devices as possible have increased.
In the case of hacked accounts sold of the darknet, the account owners don’t have much of an incentive to better protect their login credentials. After all, someone else using the account to access WiFi hotspots or Netflix doesn’t prevent the account owner from using the services as well (in most cases).
The companies behind these online services are the ones who may be incentivized to implement better security practices for their customers. People gaining access to these services via hacked accounts means less revenue and increased costs for Netflix, Comcast, and other service providers.
Netflix and Comcast could implement some form of two-factor authentication to curb the use of hacked accounts, but it seems the issue hasn’t become a major problem for them yet.