Photo: Paul Giamou/Getty Images

A bevy of news stories and researchers will tell you that hackers sell personal data for frighteningly small amounts of money on the dark web. According to a new report from Terbium Labs, those statistics might be well-intentioned but are almost certainly not helpful to understanding the issue.

Why it matters: Reports about how much money credit cards cost in criminal markets don't tend to use consistent definitions — there's no way to draw any meaning from a report last year saying card information costs $5 and one today saying it costs $10.

  • Costs vary for any number of reasons, Emily Wilson, Terbium fraud intelligence manager, tells Axios.
  • Shoppers can buy in bulk. The older the cards are, the more likely they are to have been canceled. There are Black Friday sales. "There are markets that are more like big box stores and more like boutiques," says Wilson.

Adding rigor: Bringing scientific rigor and consistent definitions could be really useful. We don't know, notes Wilson, if the prices go back up after Black Friday or how law-enforcement actions or service disruptions change costs.

  • Until there's more consistency, Wilson will see these studies more as a marketing tool than a useful fact-finding operation.
  • "We need to stop doing what's easy and start doing what's right. Right now these are selling fear," says Wilson.

Go deeper

Updated 34 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: The swing states where the pandemic is raging — Pence no longer expected to attend Barrett confirmation vote after COVID exposure.
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day case records last week
  3. Business: Where stimulus is needed most.
  4. Education: The dangerous instability of school re-openings.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota COVID cases traced to 3 Trump campaign events
  6. World: Restrictions grow across Europe.
  7. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine.

Republicans and Dems react to Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation

President Trump stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett after she took the constitutional oath to serve as a Supreme Court justice during a White House ceremony Monday night .Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

President Trump said Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Senate confirmation to the Supreme Court and her subsequent taking of the constitutional oath Monday was a "momentous day," as she she vowed to serve "without any fear or favour."

  • But as Republicans applauded the third conservative justice in four years, many Democrats including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) warned of consequences to the rush to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ahead of the Nov. 3 election, with progressives leading calls to expand the court.
Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Science

CRISPR pioneer: "Science is on the ballot" in 2020

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

In her three decades in science, Jennifer Doudna said she has seen a gradual erosion of trust in the profession, but the recent Nobel Prize winner told "Axios on HBO" that the institution itself has been under assault from the current administration.

  • "I think science is on the ballot," Doudna said in the interview.

Why it matters: That has manifested itself in everything from how the federal government approaches climate change to the pandemic.

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