Internet Security: Russian Hackers’ Earnings Double

Digital World BlueRussian-speaking hackers have doubled their “earnings” in 2011…to US$4.5 billion. Yes, that’s billion, with a “B”. And…they came in second to English-speaking hackers accounting for 40% of the global cyber crime “market”; Russian-speaking hackers made up 36%, and Chinese speakers – about 18%. According to the report by Group IB, the Russian-speaking hackers were made up of “…not only computer geeks, but also traditional crime groups getting their own piece of the growing cyber criminality” [This is not a new endeavor for crime groups in Russia and elsewhere; they’ve been in the cyber crime business for several years.]

Of the $12.5 billion total take for cyber criminals, Russian based hackers got $2.3 billion and those Russian hackers working outside Russia “earned” $2.1 billion. This includes not only the income from the actual hacks, but also income from selling fraud schemes (ideas and software to commit the hack) in the amount of $942 million, and spam sales of $830 million.

[As reported by this blog in the past, this marketing of hacking products and tools is a contributing factor in the fast growth of global cyber crime.]

Kaspersky lab, a respected computer security company, reports that “companies around the world lost about $100 billion because of cyber crimes.” The figures don’t include the sums stolen from bank accounts.

Several takeaways of this report come to mind. First, these numbers are probably under reported, based on the usual levels of secrecy practiced by cyber crime groups. Second, there is a tremendous amount of money involved in cyber crime; and this leads me to believe that more criminal groups and hackers will be drawn to that money. And third, we need to keep our eyes on China. The sheer numbers in their population, and the Chinese Government’s involvement in cyber crime groups will make them a growing and formidable player in cyber crime in the future.

Reference: Russian hackers get big slice of cyber crime billions

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Filed under Internet, security

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