Recent reports by the FBI and security vendors such as Finjan and ScanSafe highlight the cyber-crime issues we are facing as U.S. lawmakers debate data security regulations. The FBI reports Internet fraud jumped 33 percent in 2008, while security vendor Finjan notes that large botnets are getting sold for tens of thousands of dollars in the cyber-underground.
While U.S. lawmakers discuss
new data security requirements, cyber-thieves are making a killing.
Officials at ScanSafe reported that in 2008, 14 percent of all
ScanSafe Web malware blocks were the result of encounters with data
theft Trojans, more than twice the percentage of 2007. The highest
levels occurred in October and November, when the credit crunch was in
Statistics released by the FBI
Internet fraud contain more bad news. In a report issued earlier this
week, the FBI revealed that Internet fraud complaints to the agency by
consumers increased more than 33 percent last year. A total of 275,284
complaints were filed in 2008 with the Internet Crime Complaint
Center (IC3), a joint effort between the FBI and the National
White Collar Crime Center. In 2007, the IC3 received 206,844 complaints.
Of the total, 72,940 cases of fraud were referred to federal, state
and local law enforcement. The total loss suffered by consumers in
those cases was $246.6 million, up from $239.1 million in reported
losses in 2007. According to the report, the highest median dollar
losses came from check fraud, to the tune of $3,000 per incident.
Confidence fraud and the well-known West African 419 scams were second
and third, with median dollar losses of $2,000 and $1,650,
Failure to delivery of merchandise and/or payment accounted for
roughly 33 percent of all referred cases, with Internet auction fraud
making up 25.5 percent and credit/debit fraud making up 9 percent of
referred complaints, respectively.
Many of the nation's cyber-crooks call Washington, D.C., home. The
city ranks first in terms of online fraud perpetrators per 100,000
residents, according to the report. Nevada and Washington state are
second and third.
More sophisticated cyber-crooks
also at work. A recent report by Finjan on the market for rogue
anti-virus products estimated revealed a group of cyber-crooks running
a rogueware affiliate network had hauled in an average
of $10,800 a day in profits. The market for compromised
computers is also booming.
"Based on posts on various hacking forums we found that 1,000 bots
(infected computers) are rented for $100-$200 per day," said Finjan CTO