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Underground Economy on Threshold of Price War over Personal Details

Symantec releases its Annual ISTR (Internet Security Threat Report) on April 13, 2009 which says that cyber criminals are buying complete personal details of online users at a cost of less than a cola can. The bargain price is around 50p that enables criminals to access names, details of credit card, date of births and addresses.

According to the Symantec, the underground market for personal details grew to an extent last year that the price war seemed to have started among detail providers.

Researchers at security firm Symantec also state that cyber criminals prefer to buy credit card details selling at a price of lesser than 40p though some could produce only £20. The cost of bank account details is very high at nearly £675, while complete personal details are available between 50p and £40.

Commenting on the issue, Guy Bunker, Chief Scientist at Symantec, states that the underground economy is recession proof and has grown to such an extent that there are possibilities of price war among detail providers. Online criminals have become very proficient in stealing personal details, but they are finding hard to sell the details at good marginal prices, as reported by Earth Times on April 13, 2009.

Bunker further added that the fast developing underground economy immune to the economic slowdown which is hitting severely other markets. Over 100,000 malicious codes are developed every working day which not only reflects the rising sophistication of codes and advancement of technology, but also better approach and strategy behind every attack.

The report also reveals that the year 2008 proved very productive for botnets, which are gradually increasing their presence in online world. Symantec also said that the active botnet presence increased by 47% to an average of 32,188 botnets every day in 2008 from 21,864 in 2007.

Spain occupied the top position among EMEA countries in terms of bot infections, with 15% of the total botnets, while the city of Lisbon ranked first in botnet infections by representing 5% of the total bot infection in 2008. Russia surpassed other EMEA countries by accounting for 20% of the total bot command-and-control servers.

According to the security experts, the underground economies of developing countries have significantly grown with the development of infrastructure and growth in the broadband population.

Related article: Unauthorized Patch by Researcher Posts Threat for Microsoft

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