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Business booming for cyber criminals: security firm
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Jan 20, 2011

Cyber criminals are selling stolen credit card details for as little as two dollars each and renting computer networks for spam for 15 dollars as part of a vast online black market, according to a report released Thursday.

PandaLabs, the anti-malware laboratory of computer security company Panda Security, published the various prices for cyber crime-related products after conducting an undercover investigation into online crime networks.

"This is a rapidly growing industry and cyber-criminals are aiding and abetting each other's efforts to steal personal information for financial profit," PandaLabs said.

"PandaLabs discovered a vast network selling stolen bank details along with other types of products in forums and more than 50 dedicated online stores."

The computer security firm said cyber criminals had diversified from stolen bank and credit card details to a "much broader range of hacked confidential information" including log-ins, passwords, fake credit cards and other data.

"Since anonymity is of the utmost importance, many sellers use underground forums to keep out of sight," PandaLabs said. "Their offices are effectively the Internet.

"Some are more brazen about their activities, and have accounts on Facebook and Twitter which they use as shop windows."

PandaLabs said a credit card number or bank account details can be purchased for two dollars but that does not include any information on the available credit line or bank balance.

"The price increases to 80 dollars for smaller bank balances and upwards of 700 dollars to access accounts with a guaranteed balance of 82,000 dollars," it said.

PandaLabs said the price for rental of a botnet, a network of infected computers, for sending spam or other purposes begins at 15 dollars.

Cyber criminals were selling cloned credit or debit cards from 180 dollars and were charging commissions ranging from 10 percent to 40 percent for money laundering services depending on the amount of the operation.

Cyber criminals are also offering delivery for products bought illegally.

"If buyers want to use stolen bank details to buy products online, but are wary of being traced through the delivery address, the cyber criminals will make the purchase and forward the goods for a fee of between 30 dollars and 300 dollars," PandaLabs said.


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The number of Internet users in China, already the world's largest online market, hit 457 million in 2010 - up 19.1 percent from the previous year, a government-linked industry body said Wednesday. The figure marks an increase of 73.3 million users and means more than one-third of the country's 1.3 billion-strong population is now online. The number of people surfing the web on mobile ... read more

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