January 21, 2011

PandaLab Reports On Cyber Crime Black Market

A computer security company released a report Thursday of results from an undercover investigation showing that cyber criminals are hard at work making money off other people's credit cards and renting computer networks for sending out mass amounts of spam as part of a far-reaching online black market.

PandaLabs, the anti-malware division of Panda Security, published the various prices for cyber crime-related products such as stolen credit cards for 2 dollars each and stolen bank accounts for as much as $700.

"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 told AFP.

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

Cyber criminals have diversified from stolen bank and credit card details to a "much broader range of hacked confidential information" including logins, passwords, fake credit cards and other data, the company said.

"Since anonymity is of the utmost importance, many sellers use underground forums to keep out of sight," PandaLabs said in a blog post. "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," it said.

While stolen credit card numbers can be purchased for as little as 2 dollars, they do not include any information on the available credit line or balance, the company said.

After that, "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 botnets -- networks of infected computers -- for sending spam and other purposes begins at $15.

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. These Internet 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," said PandaLabs.


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