The evolving cyber crime marketplace
A report issued by Panda Security describes how the cyber theft marketplace is adapting to economic circumstances. Among other things, the report belies any notion that cyber crime is dominated by small, disconnected actors haphazardly hacking into randomly chosen troves of electronic information. It is big business, driven by profit-maximizing business operators who continually adapt to the shifting economy and the laws of supply and demand. The Panda Security report makes interesting, and sobering, reading.
The report makes clear that cyber thieves are diversifying their business to offer a range of services and information to different audiences. Basic credit card information, for example, can be bought relatively cheaply for as little as $2 per card, while credit cards with guaranteed lines of credit can cost the buyer as much as $80 per card. The cyber theft market offers bulk discounts and special deals, is subject to pricing wars, and is broadening the range of “goods and services” offered. The menu for buyers of confidential information is a la carte.
The Panda Security report debunks the common notion that primarily affects individuals rather than businesses. The research showed otherwise: everyone, from consumers to corporations to governments, is vulnerable to the theft of confidential information and the resulting fraud. Many determined and adaptive criminals are working ceaselessly to crack electronic defenses and to trick people into making the kind of mistake that can yield salable information. A reader of the report comes away with the rueful conclusion that the protection of confidential data is partly a matter of cyber security and partly a matter of cyber roulette. If your particular vulnerabilities – and every company has them – collide with a particular cyber thief’s concerted effort to exploit them, then you will likely be subject to a very costly breach of your confidential information.
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