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Symantec monitored user chats on IRC to compile a massive report giving statistics on the thriving black market of illegal internet activity.  (Source: Symantec)

Symantec also compiled a list of pirated software sales. Games topped the list in total downloads, while multimedia software came out on top for net revenue. The U.S. was the biggest uploader of pirated software, by far.  (Source: Symantec)
One of security's leading firms say that crooks are striking it rich in an underground market and becoming increasing cohesive

You hear about it on the news every day -- criminals and profiteers have made the internet into a war zone.  From bank intrusions, to assaults by massive botnets, to coordinated attacks by foreign nationalists, there seems to be no end in sight to cybercrime.

Indeed, the internet, according to Symantec, is becoming the high-crime district of the next century as hackers find themselves part of a thriving market with little fear of serious repercussions if they play it by the book.

The Symantec Report on the Internet Underground Economy, to be released today, details the hale and hearty internet black market.  A keystroke logger might run you $23, a host for your phishing scheme $10.  If you want a botnet, it will cost you $225.  Want a tool to crack bank security using a known vulnerability?  It will cost an average of $740, and could cost you as much as $3,000 for a good one.  However, for both the buyer and the seller, the reward for online crime is proving to be equally lucrative, according to Symantec's report.

For over a year, from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008, Symantec monitored cybercriminals on IRC channels and internet forums.  Through the extensive research, they generated one of the most cohesive pictures of the modern state of internet crime, including the tools used, the average prices, and even the flow of stolen financial information.

Credit card information was the most commonly requested good or service, accounting for approximately 30 percent of sales.  Bank account credentials were a hot seller, priced anywhere from $10 to $1,000 depending on the amount of money in the account and where it was located.

Apparently cybercrime does pay; Symantec found that sellers' total goods had a combined sales price of around $275M USD.  Adding in the extra income from emptying victims' accounts and maxing their credit cards, this total could soar to a $7B USD business.

Aside from tracking hackers and cyberthieves, the study also tracked another form of illicit internet activity -- software piracy.  The study tracked sales of pirated software between July and December.  The most commonly pirated type of software was desktop games, followed by utility applications and then multimedia software, such as photo editors, 3D animation, and HTML editors.

It appears that people within the U.S. are making most of the money off the sale of pirated software.  Of the underground sales, 41 percent were uploaded by people within the U.S., with Romania a distant second with 13 percent.  North America had by far the largest underground economy of servers.

One intriguing trend that Symantec noted was the rise of cybergangs in Russia and Eastern Europe.  These gangs typically consist of acquaintances met online and in IRC chats and were much more coherent and aggressive than their western counterparts.  For this reason Russia has often been cited as a haven for illegal internet activity.

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RE: we need a treaty
By Ryanman on 11/25/2008 9:15:07 AM , Rating: 4
Actually, abstinence-only sex education is largely ineffective:

Chastity is BS.

RE: we need a treaty
By Ryanman on 11/25/2008 9:19:55 AM , Rating: 2
And I don't think that not telling kids about sex is going to cut down on contraception sales - I've only bought one pack of condoms my entire life, and I turn 18 in a couple days here. I'll definitely end up purchasing more when I don't want to knock up my wife.

RE: we need a treaty
By Myg on 11/25/2008 10:31:29 AM , Rating: 2
Chastity != not informing about details.

Just means informing about the greater purpose, meaning and worth to those details!

RE: we need a treaty
By Myg on 11/25/2008 10:28:57 AM , Rating: 2
Its the only ideal which does a knock-out punch to all the issues on the subject, so unfortunatly for you: it is the only solution.

Condom use/contraception just fights the problem (and at times makes it worse) while Chastity extinguishes the problem...

Chastity works; I've seen it in action in my life, dunno how they go about teaching it there, but it works absolute wonders for the people I know who subscribe to it!

Give it a try, you can call it "clean dating" if you so wish, but it makes life more fun, less attached and you dont age as quick :P

RE: we need a treaty
By Ryanman on 11/25/2008 12:19:29 PM , Rating: 3
Of course not doing anyone is the only 100% safe option. But how many people want to waste away their most sexually appealing years waiting for god's permission to have fun? In a monogamous, long term, loving relationship (which, given, is rare in teens but is what me and my sexually active girlfriend are in) there should be no problems. You say that religious dogma, the censorship of ideas, and sexual suppression are the only ways to effectively combat STD's and teen pregnancy - and you happen to be incredibly wrong.
It's completely off the point of this article of course. But don't respond to me three times with links to fear-mongering and zealotry.

RE: we need a treaty
By Myg on 11/25/2008 8:49:01 PM , Rating: 2
Well, im glad you agree; point proven :-)

(rest of your rely is just "wahh, I want it now" spoilt brat garbage, I know: I used to live/think that way too once. You can get over it, just need to try)

RE: we need a treaty
By djc208 on 11/26/2008 8:38:32 AM , Rating: 2
I used to live/think that way too once.

But there in lies the problem. You've reformed your ways, great. If you don't make it down that path then what?

Telling kids not to is fine. I'd agree that it should form the base point. But most kids won't make it, I saw many myself at that age that had promise rings and various other "commitments" to chastity that didn't make it.

Teaching the responsible way to have sex should you decide to is the next best thing. All or nothing is a horrible philosophy since statistics say most won't make it to marriage without having sex.

The big problem is responsibility, most people, let alone kids, don't think of the consequences and responsibility they take on when they decide to have sex. But our society isn't big on taking responsbility for our actions unles we have to.

RE: we need a treaty
By Myg on 11/25/2008 10:46:24 AM , Rating: 2
"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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