Russian cyber crime market more organized, lucrative

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When it comes to information sharing, the cyber crime community in Russia is way ahead of the game.

According to a report (PDF) released Tuesday by Russian security firm Group-IB, the value of the country's cyber crime market is now $2.3 billion, nearly doubling last year's $1.2 billion total.

The report credited the cash cow with the increasing organization and professionalization of the shady underground, a shift ushered in by the arrival of traditional mob groups. They are combining their skills to form a more centralized structure, and are sharing stolen data and access to botnets.

"This trend leads to the merging of the two criminal worlds with the subsequent resource allocation from the mafia's traditional areas of control (prostitution, drugs and arms trafficking, and so on) in favor of cyber crime," the report said. "With the imperfections in the existing laws, this has the threat of [leading to an] explosive increase of attacks on the financial sector."

Online fraud, chiefly accomplished through the spread of banking malware, and spam combined to make up roughly $1.8 billion of the cyber crime market, the report said. In addition, the number of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks grew in 2011 compared to previous years.

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