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May 27, 2009updated 04 Apr 2017 4:17pm

$1trn problem about to get bigger

Having the large number of layoffs of IT professionals all around the world, especially in the USA, we expect a rising number of people willing to give it a try and to get stolen credit card numbers, online banking accounts and corporate data they can use to generate income, he added.This growing threat comes at a time when online crime has already reached alarming proportions

By Stafford Thomas

Rising unemployment in the information technology industry spells more trouble ahead in the already crime-ridden internet banking and payments market, warns US online security firm Finjan.

“We have seen a trend of unemployed IT personnel finding new and easy income by purchasing and using crimeware toolkits that are sold by professional hackers,” said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, Finjan’s chief technology officer.

“We believe this was just the beginning of a wider trend we will experience in 2009 and 2010.

“Having the large number of layoffs of IT professionals all around the world, especially in the USA, we expect a rising number of people willing to ‘give it a try’ and to get stolen credit card numbers, online banking accounts and corporate data they can use to generate income,” he added.

This growing threat comes at a time when online crime has already reached alarming proportions.

This was highlighted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s revelation that in 2008, revenue from online crime exceeded drug trafficking for the first time as the most lucrative illegal global business and is estimated to be worth more than $1 trillion in illicit profits annually.

The FBI’s estimate was endorsed by Ben-Itzhak, who pointed to findings by Finjan’s Malicious Code Research Centre that members of an online criminal affiliate network the centre had researched were raking in $10,800 a day, or more than $39 million a year.

“If you extrapolate those figures across the many thousands of cybercrime operations that exist on the internet at any given time, the results easily reach a trillion dollars,” said Ben-Itzhak.

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