Hackers also use outsourcing model

By SiliconIndia   |   Saturday, 27 September 2008, 04:47 Hrs
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Hyderabad: Even hacking is now outsourced. Pricing is interesting. The cost of fetching bank account information ranges any where between $10 and $1,000, accounts for 22 percent of the underground economy. Credit card information costs $0.40 - $20, accounting for 13 percent. Other information sold includes e-mail addresses, e-mail passwords and eBay accounts.

"Phishers and spammers have supply chain managements too and there are clear prices for the services that each one provides and all these are beginning to show up now," says Shantanu Ghosh, Vice-President, India Product Operations, Symantec Software India. He was speaking on the Emerging Security Threats and Trends in Hyderabad.

Ghosh said that malicious activity nowadays is targeted at end-users and not at computers like in the past. "This has made the underground economy more mature with flexible models and for a new person entering this area he no longer needs to a specialist but can buy the services," he added.

A study by Symantec Software has also said that these 'criminals' have rapid adaptation to security business as it is like an online business. The malicious activity today has become primarily Web-based and there has been a significant increase in site specific vulnerabilities. The research also pointed out that in the 2007-second half, 4,99,811 new malicious code threats were found.

"This is a 136 percent increase over the previous period when 2,12,101 threats were detected and 571 percent increase over the second half of 2006," Ghosh said. Around 80 percent of mail flowing around is spam as against eight percent in 2001.

In India, Ghosh said "enterprises and consumers are still plagued by 'worms and viruses'. India currently has around five to six million users who access social networks and this is the other major area that is vulnerable," he said.

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