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December 11, 2014

Hacking markets ‘still booming’ despite data glut

1,000 email accounts now available for as little as 32p, while card data goes strong.

By Jimmy Nicholls

Online black markets for hackers are "still booming" despite the glut of stolen data leaked to them this year, according to the security firm Symantec.

While 1,000 email accounts can now be bought for as little as half a US dollar (32p), down from a minimum of $4 (£2.50) in 2007, the market for credit card data remains strong, with the price ranging from half a US dollar to $20 (between 32p and £13) per piece, a similar cost to 2007.

Candid Wueest, threat researcher at Symantec, said: "Considering all of the data breaches and point-of-sale (PoS) malware incidents that occurred in the last 12 months, you may think that underground markets are flooded with stolen data, causing prices to drop."

"Interestingly enough, this does not seem to be the case for all illegal goods on these marketplaces."

Other hacking services offered online include crimeware-as-a-service, which includes rentable botnets and hacking infrastructure, and drive-by download toolkits, which cost between $100 to $700 (£60 to £450) a week and include updates a customer support.

Banking malware such as the trojan SpyEye can be purchased on a six month lease for as much as $1,250 (£800), while distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks can costs as much at $1000 (£640) a day.

"Any product or service directly linked to monetary profit for the buyer retains a solid market price," Wueest added.

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Less ambitious scammers and fraudsters can also purchase passport scans, gaming accounts, social network followers, SIM cards and even spam-as-a-service, all available at minimal cost.

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