Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Symantec Report on the Underground Economy

The Symantec Report on the Underground Economy examines activity on underground economy servers observed by Symantec between July 1st, 2007 and June 30th, 2008. It includes analysis and discussion of the goods and services advertised, advertisers participating in the economy, the servers and channels that host the trading, and a snapshot of piracy activity observed. 

The report, published on the 24th of November, can be downloaded

Report Highlights

The underground economy has matured into a global market with the same supply and demand pressures and responses of any other economy. There are a great many servers and channels available to advertisers to market their wares, which they do, and often. Most people associate identity theft with money because most reported cases involve criminals using the identity for activities such as obtaining credit cards, applying for loans, obtaining expensive medical or pharmaceutical treatments, or even stealing house titles. Symantec estimates the value of total advertised goods on underground economy servers was over $276 million between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008.

During the reporting period, Symantec monitored 44,752 unique samples of sensitive information publicly posted on underground economy servers, which accounted for 10 percent of the total distinct messages. Sellers often publicly post samples of their goods in the channels on underground economy servers. These samples serve several purposes: to prove that sellers actually have the goods in their possession; to show potential buyers the quality of goods they can expect; to enhance their credibility, and; to allow users to validate the information. The following table identities the top samples of information posted:

Site-specific Vulnerabilities

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