In fact, Symantec says that the “potential value of total advertised goods observed by Symantec was more than US $276 million for the reporting period” which was July 07 to June 08, with the stolen credit card details representing more than US $5 billion in credit that could be stolen.
What Symantec’s free “Report on the Underground Economy” (PDF Link) shows is the epidemic of online crime the world is facing, with things getting worse as online criminals in general get so very much more sophisticated.
I spoke to Craig Scroggie, the vice president and managing director of Symantec in Australia and NZ yesterday to get a briefing on the new report, and he explained that today’s cyber criminals comprise of individuals right through to more organised and sophisticated groups who have created a “self sustaining marketplace”.
This means that the software tools used to aid in fraud and theft are being purchased, leading to more malware on unsuspecting users’ computers stealing more information. This is then used to steal more credit or money from bank accounts, part of which is used to buy more tools to perpetuate what has become an ongoing, mature and growing cycle!
31% of the stolen information easily available to purchase online is credit card numbers, which can sell from as little as $0.10 through to $25 per card, with Symantec noting that the average credit limit on offer was more than US $4000 – giving online criminals plenty of scope to plough some of that money back into crimeware, or just buy consumer goods or anything else through online shopping.
As Symantec says, credit cards are popular for online shopping, as it’s still difficult for “merchants or credit providers to identify and address fraudulent transactions before fraudsters complete these transactions and receive their goods.”
What’s the second most common category of stolen information sold online? Please steal a look at page 2 for the answers...