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How Much Is Your Online Identity Worth? 199

itwbennett writes "Answer a few questions about your personal Internet use, and a new tool from Symantec will calculate your net worth on the black market. You'll get three results: how much your online assets are worth, how much your online identity would sell for on the black market, and your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft. The tool is intended to raise consumer awareness about cybercrime, said Marian Merritt, Internet security advocate for Symantec. It's unlikely the average consumer would read an Internet Security Threat Report, she added, but a simply illustrated example might get the same point across. 'It's shocking how little value criminals place on your credit card,' she said."
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How Much Is Your Online Identity Worth?

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  • by BaCkBuRn ( 621588 ) * on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:50PM (#29381439) Homepage Journal
    ... to make more $$ for Norton. When will the shameless plugs ever end?
    • by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <> on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:55PM (#29381505) Journal

      Seems its going really bad for Symantec, with all their stupid spammy marketing efforts..

      Just earlier we had this []

      So now its not just bloat software, but they're going to spam us with stupid things? Instead of actually doing whats needed, lightweight and protective antivirus?

      • by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @03:33PM (#29381949) Homepage

        What I really liked about their plug was this (FTA):

        Cybercrime is now larger than the international drug trade...

        I don't have numbers, but my B.S. meter is going off the charts. I humbly request a definition of "bigger". If they mean that more people are affected by cybercrime than are directly involved in the international drug trade, then OK. But if you count even indirect supporters of the drug trade, that falls apart - They claim 10 million people were victims of cybercrime last year - You can't tell me that there are fewer than 10 million people supporting the illegal drug trade right now. No way. Even if they're talking about $$, I still call shenanigans - The drug trade is BIG money. If somebody has numbers contradicting that balance, please share, but that quote reeks of FUD.

        I realize that I'm demanding citations without providing any - It still sounds fishy.

      • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @06:58PM (#29384193) Homepage Journal

        I have two different opinions on this. Yeah, it would be great if Symantec would sell it's top-tier security products to the public at affordable prices. I've only heard good things about it's enterprise software. The far less effective "solutions" that they sell to John Q. Public helps to ensure that malware writers can find a way to bypass security.

        BUT - the real question should be, "When is Microsoft going to REPAIR THEIR BROKEN SECURITY MODEL?"

        Yes, security is getting better with MS products. But, everything comes back to the fact that MS is designed more for convenience than for security.

        Why am I even bothering, though? If people take security seriously, they generally move to a unix-like system. If they don't take security as seriously as they take marketability and convenience, they stay with Windows. And, the world suffers losses to criminals all day, every day.

        Phhht. The fact is, few people really care if their identity is stolen. Their actions prove it.

  • How Much Is Your Online Identity Worth?

    So we should all post it here for them to hack us? :)

    • It's worth as much as Symantec tells you it's worth!


      • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @04:09PM (#29382351) Journal

        This was just a way to sell their software. When I said I had a "security suite" to protect my accounts they rated me as "low risk" but when I changed the answer to "no security" than they rated me high. I'm surprised they didn't have an instant popup to sell me their program.

        This is just like the insurance companies who make it sound you'll be run-over by a car or hit by a falling ladder, as soon as you step outside your home. Exaggerating a person's risk is a scam to get your money. That's all it is. "Oh yeah you need to buy this, else you will be SCREWED!!! Hahaha." "OMG I'll take it!" "A wise decision madam."


    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      I'm still waiting for TFA to load, but TFS doesn't sound much like the headline.


      Ok, it loaded. It doesn't say much more than TFS. But I think its "online identity" thing is misleading; they're not talking about "mcgrew", they're talking about "McGrew"; in other words, your OFFLINE identity. After all, you don't log into your bank with a pseudonym.

      I couldn't get the risk assessment tool to load at all. Since I don't do any business on the internet (I even used a paper check mailed to Canada for my domain

      • by gnick ( 1211984 )

        I'm more at risk of somebody going through my trash.

        I think people really underestimate dangers like that. We had a secretary who refused to use her purchase card over the Net (phone only) - Presumably the same with her personal cards. Why would you trust the integrity of some random voice on the other end of the phone more than an automated system? Not to mention trusting business owners to responsibly take care of your digits instead of leak them (intentionally or negligently)? I just take comfort that my liability is low on the cards I use and try not

        • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

          Considering how dangerous SUVs are; more people die per 100,000 miles in an SUV than any other vehicle because of their non-unibody construction, lack of crumple zones, top-heaviness, poor handling and braking due to their weight, and considering how much it costs to fill one, if anybody steals her SUV they're doing you both a favor.

          I was thrilled when the Evil-X bought an SUV!

          • by gnick ( 1211984 )

            Hey, if you were in the cross-hairs when I suggested that a more practical solution for her might be a station-wagon, you'd have bought her whatever she wanted too! Still, at this point we're in that golden zone where having it stolen would suck for both us and the criminal.

            Still, most credit cards hold a liability of about $50 for the user, typically waived by the issuer in the case of fraud. Why do we sweat that when we've got at least $10k parked overnight in our drive-way. Sure, it's easier to steal

            • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

              Actually a minivan would have been best -- they're the safest on the road. But I agree, there's no arguing with a woman who knows what she wants.

              And about the CC, that's a great point and why I don't use a debit card any more. If someone sees you punch in the PIN and steals it, you have to eat the loss. I found that out by having mine stolen, cost me a ton of money. CCs are safe, debits aren't.

              As to the car, well I still owe the bank so it's insured with full coverage, although it would still cost me a lot

              • that's funny - I usually treat the minivans i see as the most dangerous. Usually driven by chatty soccer moms in their own little world.
      • I'm more at risk of somebody going through my trash.

        There's a reason people buy paper shredders.

    • Hello, my name is JW Smythe. Steal my identity. :)

      Just kidding. I ran through their tests. "... In the underground economy, you're really worth about $150.00. And that's on a good day.

      Your entire digital life could go on the auction block for as little as $0.53, whether you like it or not."

      Sucker. Someone could buy my identity $150? Hell, I'll sell it to 'em for $100, if I can get a fresh one to replace it. :) I suspect most folks got highe

  • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:51PM (#29381457) Homepage
    I used this tool, but it didn't turn out so well. The first question was, "To calculate your worth, please provide your SSN and online banking username and password." Unfortunately, when I clicked "Next", it's lagging and I can't get through to the next part...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Sl4shd0t0rg ( 810273 )
      This post should be rated funny, not informative. The tool, while pretty lame, never asks for SSN or banking info.
    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @03:25PM (#29381857) Homepage

      Funny as your comment was intended, I stopped the questionary when it asked how much my total bank accounts were worth.

    • by baomike ( 143457 )

      All I got was a little yellow circle the kept going around and around ... .
      Slashdotted perhaps?
      or just a microsoft specific site?

      • Just a big honking Flash app. Took about a 3 minutes to load on my 18 Mbps connection.

        Ran fine on FF/Linux, but I too stopped it once it asked what my bank accounts etc. added up to.

        • by Ironica ( 124657 )

          That's exactly the point I stopped at also.... though I originally was looking at it just to see if it asked for a bunch of stuff you shouldn't just put into a form online, and then it said "Your risk is HIGH, because you never should have told us all this!"

  • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:51PM (#29381459) Journal

    Thanks to a messy divorce 4 years ago, my credit rating probably still sucks to the point that even an ID thief would be ashamed to use it.

    Go ahead, try and get a credit card with it - you'll hear laughter that would compete with an insane asylum on Bath Day...

  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:54PM (#29381493)

    Symantec will calculate your net worth on the black market

    I went there and it told me I owed it money...

  • by jittles ( 1613415 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:55PM (#29381511)
    This tool is nothing but a giant slashvertisement, though I suppose that should be obvious. It was a complete waste of time. Oh and I'm worth $31 online if anyone wants to buy me ;o)
    • by HogGeek ( 456673 )

      This is now slashBay, and my bid:


      Am I in the lead?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by InlawBiker ( 1124825 )

      I'm beginning to wonder if Slashdot shouldn't tag stories as "paid placements." This is a ridiculously obvious marketing piece.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      Oh and I'm worth $31 online if anyone wants to buy me ;o)

      You'd better be a damned good looking female, I never paid more than $30 and she had to be pretty hot for that kind of money ;)

  • by scsirob ( 246572 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:56PM (#29381529)

    .. articles that use links to "" and such.

    Maybe using this tool is not such a smart idea?!?

    • by Quothz ( 683368 )

      .. articles that use links to "" and such.

      Maybe using this tool is not such a smart idea?!?

      Precisely what I wanted to say. Add in the fact that doesn't have a link to it that I was able to find, and it sounds pretty phishy. I also note that Symantec has no press release regarding this tool on their press releases page, and Merrit's Symantec page makes no mention of it.

      This sounds like a clumsy hoax to me.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by rhsanborn ( 773855 )
        It's on their front page. It's called "Deny Digital Dangers". It links to every click matters.
        • by Quothz ( 683368 )

          It's on their front page. It's called "Deny Digital Dangers". It links to every click matters.

          Ah, thanks. I checked out the other "deny digital dangers" button, which leads to their store, but not that one. Foolish of me, to think that two links with (almost) identical labels would go to the same place.

          So I guess it's legit. It seems kind of poor form for a self-described Internet security company to encourage people to run apps on random domains without clearly confirming the site's authenticity, tho'.

  • 'It's shocking how little value criminals place on your credit card,' she said."

    No, if it were worth more, there'd be more value in stealing it. You want its value to a criminal to be zero, the chance of being caught to be infinite, or both.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      'It's shocking how little value criminals place on your credit card,' she said."

      No, if it were worth more, there'd be more value in stealing it. You want its value to a criminal to be zero, the chance of being caught to be infinite, or both.

      Actually a chance of 100% is absolutely sufficient.

    • by Malc ( 1751 )

      It's shocking how little value CC companies place in the security of their cards, and make it so easy for criminals.

      I've recently been a victim of identity theft and fraud.

      I have a CC with MBNA Canada. Somebody called up and said the card was lost or stolen. All MBNA confirmed was my DoB, then they allowed this person to change the address on the account, issue a new card, and a order a new PIN.

      Maybe the same person went to Sears. Sears Canada only requires that you to have an existing CC before they iss

      • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

        I've always wondered, how is credit history handled internationally for private citizens? Does a UK employer just pull your US credit score, google for what a "good" score is, and base it off that? How does bankruptcy, etc affect your (I assume) nonexistant credit score in the UK/EU? Could you just rack up huge CC bills, declare bankruptcy in the US, and move to the UK without any effect on your credit?

        • UK employers very rarely do credit checks, and if they do, it would be a UK credit check which would show no history. The credit agencies in the UK don't give you scores, they just give you data which you can use to create your own score.

        • It is pretty much separate from one country to the next.

          If you declare bankruptcy in the US then you actually get a high credit rating there as a result because the agencies know that you can't declare bankruptcy on them for several years. If you turn around and move to a foreign country you will have no credit which isn't exactly a good thing when you're trying to buy or rent a house, buy a car, etc.

      • by Ironica ( 124657 )

        I called Toronto Police. They don't take fraud reports over the phone. Typical of their lazy arsed existence. I'd just moved to the UK before this all happened, so I can't exactly go in person.

        Will they do it by fax? When my husband's debit card was stolen from the US Mail before it ever arrived, and mysteriously activated by someone else, he was able to have the PD fax him the forms and then fill them out and fax them back, instead of driving 200 miles to the city that the fraud happened in.

  • how much those black market names I was about to buy are really worth. Fantastic!
  • by BertieBaggio ( 944287 ) <> on Thursday September 10, 2009 @03:01PM (#29381593) Homepage

    Gotta love leading questions:

    Do you currently have a complete security software solution that includes spyware protection, antiphishing technology and a two-way firewall (BUY CO- ER, NORTON®!) installed on the personal computer you use most often?

    Yeah, it's just a tool to raise awareness (BUY NORTON®!), indeed. Just a natural question, placed at the top of a page and taking up a lot of eye-space. It helps determine if we should give you the sales routine. No, it helps determine if how much a criminal would value your identity. No, uh... what were we trying to do again?

    However, on a brighter note: I guessed a criminal could buy me, er... buy my online digital e-identity (or whatever they call it) for $20. They say I could go for as little as $11.29. Obviously I didn't take bartering into account.


  • by Strike Fiss ( 167449 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @03:02PM (#29381607)

    "Do you pay bills online? No? Can you VIEW bills online? No? Well...then that just means the hackers will try harder! BUY NORTON NOW!!!"

    Brilliant marketing. It's a shame this power can't be harnessed for good.

  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @03:02PM (#29381609)

    The Norton Online Risk Calculator, unveiled within a microsite to coincide with the launch of Norton 2010,

    All it does is make people anxious about unmeasurable quantities of unknown worth, arbitrarily estimated in an obscure manner with no basis in fact or reality. Treat it like astrology not security.

  • by burtosis ( 1124179 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @03:02PM (#29381611)
    I was totally overpaying for all that black market info. I went to my dealer and showed him the link, now I save 30%! Thanks Geik^H^H^H^H Symantec!
  • A completely black page?

    Oh, wait, do I need to whitelist something in noscript for that? Pass.

    • by Shag ( 3737 )

      I get a completely black page with a little yellow circling thing.

      I think it's stealing everything off my drive. :)

  • It was humorous up until the last page, where it said, "Your entire digital life could go up for auction for as little as $21.39" and then had two big buttons, ALLOW and DENY. Are they ASKING if you want to auction your identity on the black market? And who in their right mind would click on either one of them? Very suspicious, but obviously just an advertisement for Symantec's crappy products. Long live ES-ET for actual bloat-free protection.
    • > And who in their right mind would click on either one of them?

      The same idiot who would answer any of their questions truthfully.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @03:07PM (#29381675) Homepage
    The writer understands anything.


    That basically means that the info is not all that dangerous. It means criminals are afraid of getting caught if they use it, so why spend all that much for it. If the criminals were sure they could get away with it and all they needed was the info, that information would go for a lot higher.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by plague3106 ( 71849 )

      Er, no, its because there's plenty of supply, and its rather low risk to obtain a CC number. This is why coke or pot is so expensive, the supply is not up with demand, and its fairly high risk to produce and sell the drugs.

    • I disagree. We can't tell anything from the price alone, simply because it's so cheap to harvest identities.

      Whether it's dangerous and there are few criminals, or it's easy and there are plenty of them, the fact that it it costs essentially nothing to set up phishing websites and the like and the info can be sold for anything means people will continue to enter the market to supply the information.

      So the price will be driven down regardless of the demand level, obscuring whether the price needs to be lo

    • The writer understands anything.


      That basically means that the info is not all that dangerous. It means criminals are afraid of getting caught if they use it, so why spend all that much for it. If the criminals were sure they could get away with it and all they needed was the info, that information would go for a lot higher.

      It's nothing to do with that. Cards are cheap because they're easy to get. You can speculate as to why but you can't conclude much of anything just from them being cheap.

  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @03:11PM (#29381723)
    By making up online personas and then selling them? Norton reckoned my online worth was $32 - just by clicking on my age range and taking all the other default values. That's about $32 for 30 seconds work. I could do that for a living. It's just a pity that Norton haven't taken this to it's logical conclusion and offered to join up people with onlibe identities and the (other) people who would pay for them.

    Of course, if they did, they'd find that:

    * there was almost no-one willing to pay for this

    * they would pay nothing like the Norton valuation

    and therefore expose the complete and utter BULL behind this mind-numbingly DUMB idea. I'd even be happy for Norton to take a 10% finders fee - I'd still make a pile.

    • by yuna49 ( 905461 )

      Wow, I like this idea. Maybe we can call it Facebook for Phishers?

    • Dude, nobody's gonna pay you $32 for the 30-second questionnaire. But somebody might pay that much for all the information you said you have (credit cards, bank accounts, contact lists, birthdate, address, medical records, brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, debit cards).

      My online value of $10,000 is worth $675, for which a criminal might pay $80. The difference between $675 and $80 accounts for the risk that the information is bogus, that the credit cards will be closed before they're used, that the

    • This is probably part of the reason the value of black-market CC info is "shockingly" low - 95% of what you get is probably fake. But that's the black market for you.
  • Is it $0.43 or $100? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @03:15PM (#29381761)
    I filled out the questions and got this at the end guessed that a cybercriminal could buy you for $1.00. In the underground economy, you're really worth about $100.00. And that's on a good day. Your entire digital life could go on the auction block for as little as $0.43...

    So is my information worth $100.00 or is it worth $0.43? It doesn't seem like they have a clue, but then this is Symantec we are talking about, so I guess we already knew that.

    • by qoncept ( 599709 )
      Were you ever very good at answering story problems? What about multiple choice?

      A. $0
      B. $100
      C. $.43
      D. Between $.43 and $100
    • Cool! I'm worth $650. (I thought I was worth $50.)

      Maybe I can sell my own info online and make some bucks?

    • by rhsanborn ( 773855 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @04:02PM (#29382273)
      It means the criminal would expect to get about $100.00 out of your identity, but they won't pay $100.00 to try and get that value. They have a significant risk, including many identities that just don't work out, and the risk of getting caught. So, they'll only buy the opportunity to use that identity for $0.43.
      • Yes, but their wording contrasts the $100.00 to the $1.00 that I guessed a cybercriminal could buy my info for, which is designed to cause me to think "oh my info is worth more than I thought it was." When in fact it is worth less than I thought it was (I guessed $1.00, they say $0.43).
    • Just use some RIAA lawyers to calculate the value of your "digital life".
    • by tool462 ( 677306 )

      I'm assuming their equation looks like this:
      $value = $large_number * rand() + $symantec_license_cost

  • by realsilly ( 186931 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @03:22PM (#29381825)

    I agree it's important to understand how to keep your information protected, but this sounds like the newest method of selling you the latest and greatest upgrades to Symantec's software. We have seen scare tactics in the News media to get you to watch their stations for the news and weather by over-sensationalizing the headlines or the topics to be covered.

    Just the other day, the news eluded to the next hurricane that formed with this dire sounding report about keeping you informed. What the news failed to mention was that the particular storm was just off the coast of Africa and it's path was keeping it in the ocean off the coast of Africa.

    It's not that I don't believe Symantec isn't touching upon an important topic, it's just the method by which they are choosing to report the data to the consumer.

  • Hmm... after doing the report, I'm worth -$42 (that's a negative) and they're demanding my presence be eliminated from the net. It also had 'End of Line' when I finished. What does 'End of Line' mean? :)
  • If you visit that site, it spends about thirty seconds running a "preloader". Yet the actual quiz comes from another site and is trivial. What's going on in there?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Must be cloud based. Talking to servers on the clouds takes a lot longer, as clouds are farther away than earth-based servers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      If you fill out the quiz, and at the end, you elect not to protect yourself, you get to watch a video. At the end of that video if you choose not to protect yourself, you get another video, and yet another follows that. That, is what it's doing in the background. Downloading video. Personally, the Shopping Network video scared me.
    • > What's going on in there?

      The only real way to determine the worth of something is to sell it. So they download a trojan that steals your identity and sells it on the international automated identity market and then reports the amount so that they can tell you what your identity was worth.

  • I've found a way to make yourself priceless - use the official build of Flash, but do it from Firefox on openSuse! Everything else Flash-based works fine for me, but I can't get past the first page of this "advert masquerading as a tool" because I don't have any boxes to select my gender or age! I can see the lists, just no checkboxes, and clicking in the rough areas doesn't help either. I take that to mean that theives can't steal my details and therefore my details are priceless :)

  • Besides all the loaded questions and unquantifiable results the fact is much of the stuff being asked for is insured.

    So sure they might pay 22$ to get at my stuff, but from my perspective if they steal money from my credit card it is insured against identity theft, so basically they are stealing from the bank, not me as the bank will reimburse me. I have had it happen to me before.

    This is really just a stupid thing to sell their software, which really wouldn't help all that much anyway. Not being foolish is

    • > The person with the stolen car wouldn't be the loser, it would be the person
      > that bought the car.

      Same for the incident you describe.

      > In this case the bank controls the sale...

      No they don't.

  • It said the world would pay me $1000 to go away. :-(

  • FUD (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gavron ( 1300111 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @04:49PM (#29382793)

    Telling me how much I'm worth on the black market of identity theft begs the question of whether HOW SECURE AM I FROM IDENTITY THEFT and does nothing more than add FUD to the identity theft discussion.

    If you don't want your identity stolen, the right way to do that is to PREVENT YOUR IDENTITY FROM BEING STOLEN, not buy more software that may or may not patch more holes in the software you already have.

    Social networking sites aren't the problem. People who freely give out confidential information are the problem.
    Your computer isn't the problem. How you use it to make it easy for others to take your confidential information is the problem.

    Norton can't fix all the malware problems, and they can only do so AFTER they see the malware (either in concept or in the wild). Too often that's many many days after the problem is already too late. Their suggestions to use firewalls do nothing to prevent spyware installed through any number of known windows/adobe/vendor-of-the-day-hole from stealing your data in real time and delivering it where it will be used immediately to drain your accounts.

    Use linux. Use FireFox. Use anonymizers. Don't store passwords anywhere other than your head.
    Don't use Windows. Don't use Internet Explorer or Outlook. Don't keep all your passwords in the browser.

    Here's an excellent example of a "strong password checker" that is in fact TERRIBLE: []
    Hint: try aaaaaa$A There are two problems with this "strong password checker". The first is it assumes a password CANNOT be strong unless it has elements of letters, numbers, and either special characters or uppercase letters. The second is it assumes that at 8 characters a password containing members of those sets is strong, and that at 14 characters it is "the best". This implies that aaaaaaaaaaaa$A is a stronger password than "You'llneverguessmypassphrasebutI'llrememberit!"

    Norton needs FUD so they can sell more of their products.

    We as /. readers don't like FUD. Not from SCO, not from MS, ...and not from Norton.

    Stop the FUD when you see it.


  • OMG (Score:3, Funny)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @05:03PM (#29382937)

    I am so scared now I was asked a whole bunch of questions about how every single person in the world uses the internet, from online banking to facebook, and now Symantec has told me I'm a MEDIUM risk and criminals are out to get me!!!!!!!!!

    I guess I should buy their software right away! SAVE ME SYMANTEC, SAVE ME!!!!

    Oh, wait - the cost of their subscription fee over 10 years is less than what they say I am "worth". Or are they the criminals telling me what I'm worth to them? I'm so confused now...

  • Since the very first page of the questionnaire has radio buttons that overwrite each other in every browser but IE, any thinking user should conclude if Symantec can't even author a website you shouldn't trust them with your PC's internet security.
  • It said I am worth a peso. [grin]

  • and they said I'd only go for $11.29! I mean, I'm not even worth half of what I thought I was. I feel insulted and emasculated. Damn web form just took my balls!

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake