Raimund Genes, chief technology officer at Trend Micro, said that the average cyber-criminal Christmas wish list possibly looks like this:
- Trojan program to steal online account information (worth £500 - £2,500)
- Credit card number with Pin (£250)
- Billing data including account number, address, Social Security number, home address and birth date (£40 - £150)
- Driver's licence (£75)
- Birth certificate (£75)
- Social Security card (£50)
- Credit card number with security code and expiration date (£3 - £12)
- PayPal account log-on and password (£3)
- Unsuspecting user (priceless)
Genes cited FBI figures suggesting that financial losses from spyware and other computer related crimes cost US businesses US$62bn in 2005.
With threats increasingly created for the purpose of financial gain, methods of attack are becoming more sophisticated.
Most common activities include trying to steal bank account or credit card numbers and passwords through phishing and key-logging scams.
The information gathered can then be sold on. Internet Relay Chat channels, for example, are often like flea markets for stolen personal information.