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Underground Internet economy moves $ 276M a year

Analysts had long since conveyed the notion that cybercrime is increasingly driven by economic objectives and that “ready-to-use” malware packages are sold as software of productivity, on websites of the parallel Internet economy. A new Symantec study again proves all of these trends, showing that in one year the black information market has moved over $ 276 million.

The security company monitored cybercriminal activity on various Internet platforms for one year, following the sale of more than 44,000 samples of sensitive information marketed on servers used by crackers.

The report released today reports on the observed activity and some of the most “profitable” cases of private information sales.

In this market, credit card information is at the top of demand and the most sold “products”, followed by bank account information and for spam and phishing. Sales prices vary depending on the importance of the information and can range from just $ 10,000 to $ 3,000 for hosting a phishing scam or exploiting a vulnerability on a banking website.

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According to the report, between June 2007 and July 2008 “products” worth 276 million dollars were traded in this parallel market, but this number does not correspond to the totality of the activities of the cybercrime underworld, since there are other “businesses” “not observed.

Symantec also estimates that the execution of the malware and the use of the information purchased in these markets could give rise to fraud that can exceed 7 billion dollars.