I would suggest it’s not often that Oscar Wilde comes up in a discussion about cyber crime.
The well-known wit, who will have been dead 115 years next month, never specifically mentioned the internet in his musings.
Funny that, eh?
But one of his most famous phrases sums up the world we live in today. In Wilde’s play Lady Windermere’s Fan, Lord Darlington quips that a cynic is the man who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.
We’ve all heard people say that, but I’m specifically thinking about what you’re worth.
I don’t mean your house, car, salary, pension pot or anything else like that - I simply mean your personal information.
The issue of identity theft and online crime is a funny one. It never existed 20 years ago and now it’s a huge business - and like any other business it appears that there is now a tariff to get what you want - if you know where to look.
In research by McAfee, Intel’s anti-virus software, it appears that hackers operate on a sliding scale from everything to your bank account down to your online video streaming service - or even store loyalty card.
The study suggests a username and password to a bank account with a £1,500 balance are available for about £120, while the details for an account with about £4,000 in will set you back around £300.
The McAfee researchers discovered a hotel loyalty account with 100,000 points listed for sale on line for a little under £15 while video streaming services, like Nextflix, with a balance between £200 and £500 could be bought for £30.
Even the three-digit code on the back of your cashcard has a value – and that’s about a fiver.
If you’ve ever been to the bank and realised that someone has been in your account and your information has been stolen, your heart sinks.
But before you’ve even begun to realise you’re out of pocket your details have most likely already been sold.
They don’t use Google, rather a place known as ‘the dark web’.
This is part of the web most of us don’t ever get to see – it’s often hidden, and you have to know where to look in order to find it.
And, in an irony of ironies, the dark web is big on passwords and security - well, they don’t want just anyone stumbling in there do they?
The latest invention from that part of the internet is the Dridex bug which goes into your bank account and steals money.
But rather than taking a huge chunk of cash, it steals a relatively small amount - and then goes back for more a little later.
This means that if you’re not on the lookout for it, then you could just mistake it for a minor direct debit or standing order.
The FBI and authorities in the UK are on it – they’re trying to stop the programme speaking to the people who created it, so they can’t steal the money or details.
However, this is only the latest in a long line of web crimes – and it’s a type of crime which only seems set to increase.
So while the thieves may know the cost rather than the value, make sure you’re not in the same boat.
Take your security online and be vigilant - otherwise it may be your details which end up on the dark web for sale to the highest bidder.