Although you might think that your personal information, including your financial data, is hugely valuable to the cyber-criminal fraternity the truth would appear to be somewhat different. Security vendor Trend Micro has published research which shows that at this time of the year, as we fast approach the climax to the holiday season, cyber attacks are on the up. In fact, says Trend Micro, cyber attacks rose by about 500 percent this time last year and this year is not looking much different.
Of course, this activity is driven by greed and cyber criminals are only in the game because they can make a serious profit selling stolen data on the web underground, the Internet black market if you like.
So what does the top 10 black market malware sales list look like?
At number 10 we have a basic malware package that can enable criminals to get hold of your information in the first place. Priced at around UKP 700.
In at number 9 comes an information stealing Trojan, guaranteed to be undetectable, and costing just UKP 60.
Thought that was cheap given the potential return, then look at our number 8 spot which is your stolen banking data for a starting price of around UKP 35.
Number 7 is a stolen credit card, or at least all the information you need to be able to purchase stuff from online sources, and at a cost of around UKP 25 (although prices do fall dramatically with volume and depending upon which country you are in.)
Number 6 sees some spam fodder, how about 30,000 live and geographically targeted email addresses for UKP 5?
The top 5 can do even better, starting with a whopping great one million international email addresses for UKP 4.
At number 4 there is a MySpace account login for one pound.
Number 3 brings us a Skype account login for the same UKP 1 price tag.
Straight in at number 2 is another one pound bargain, a login for an online multi-player game.
Which just leaves us with the number one, the bargain of the year and proof that your data really isn't worth as much as you might think: a complete Facebook profile for less than a pound, just 89 pence to be precise.
“We still give away a huge amount of personal information on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. Hoards of cyber criminals are also drawn to these sites as crucial data, needed for identity theft, tends to be readily available - including email addresses, names and birthdays for example”, says Rik Ferguson, Trend Micro. “Whether you’re going online to use Facebook, doing your banking or Christmas shopping you should be aware that hacking activity and identity theft tend to increase during certain times of the year. As we approach Christmas we urge users to apply a certain sense of caution when it comes to the sites they visit and giving away personal information.”