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PandaLabs Report - What Happens to Stolen Information
By: wubayou
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    2011-02-01

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    Internet scams appear to be growing in presence as cybercriminals attempt to separate you from your money by stealing sensitive personal data. You may be wondering what happens to the data once it is stolen. Is it used by the hackers themselves, or sold to third parties? A report recently released by Internet security firm PandaLabs helps to answer these questions by delving into a black market that deals in stolen data.

    A post on the PandaLabs blog details not only what type of stolen information is available for sale, but also what it costs to purchase it. The laundry list of both physical and digital goods was obtained by PandaLabs researchers who went undercover posing as cybercriminals. Online forums were common meeting places for such transactions, but even accounts through popular social networks like Twitter and Facebook served as communication avenues for illicit trade. In order to protect themselves from authorities, the holders of the stolen data and goods often requested contact via generic email accounts or through instant messaging. Doing so makes it harder for their whereabouts to be tracked.

    The list of products available via online black markets is not only wide in its variation of offerings, but also in price. Details about a credit card can be had for just $2, although no account balance or additional information is provided. Buyers can purchase bank account credentials with detailed reports of their balances at a cost of $80 for small balances. Accounts with a guaranteed balance of $82,000 can be purchased for around $700. Any accounts used for online shopping or that deal with online payment systems like PayPal can be had for anywhere from $10 to $1,500, depending on the type of account and the amount of guaranteed funds available. 

    While much of the online black market deals with digital data, physical goods used for illegal activity are being sold as well. Cloned debit or credit cards are available from $180. Those wishing to clone their own cards can purchase a cloning machine for $200 to $1,000. Even more advanced are fake ATMs, which begin at a price of $3,500.

    Services for those wishing to dabble in illegal activity are also being sold. For a commission charge of 10 to 40 percent, some cybercriminals offer money laundering services that include cashing checks or bank transfers. Customers that want to purchase goods online using stolen bank accounts can do so for a fee of $30 to $300.  For those fees, cybercriminals will purchase and forward the goods to the customer.

    Those with a desire to run their own illegal online businesses can solicit the help of cybercriminals to set up fake online stores. Not only do they offer to design and set up the stores, but many will assist with search engine optimization. Prices for such services depend on the project. Other services available to aspiring scammers include botnet rentals for sending spam, which start at $15. Customers who gain access to the exclusive online black markets can browse through the cybercriminals' stores to fill their shopping carts with whatever they need. Payments for the goods are executed via services such as Western Union and WebMoney, to name a couple. To avoid any scamming of the scammers themselves who run these shops, payments are usually required up-front.

    For more on this topic, visit http://pandalabs.pandasecurity.com/black-market-undercovered/


    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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