Cybercrime isn't where or who you think it is

As crime gets more serious, it gets more organized, but it's still mostly a US/China thing

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Globally cybercrime costs $114 billion every year according to a September, 2011 study by U.S. security software maker Symantec Corp.

Officials of Western governments often point to Russia, Estonia, the Ukraine and other Eastern European countries as the source of their cybercrime problems. And it's certainly true there is a thriving cybercrime economy in Eastern Europe – one that is more attractive because culprits are rarely arrested, let alone prosecuted, according to the Kyiv Post.

In Russia, there is a burgeoning "Cybercrime to Cybercrime" business in which specialized teams of hackers form "companies" offering services such as training, administration, malware development and other specific skills that other gangs hire on a need-to-steal basis, according to Moscow-based consultancy Group-IB, which published a study on the Russian cybercrime market in April.

The main sources of malicious activity – and therefore the location of most of the jobs in cybercrime – were the U.S. and China, according to a recent report from security firm Symantec.

Even the Tidsev Trojan, the Cyrillic-sounding, astonishingly successful malware that helped build the Rustock botnet into an army of 1.5 million infected computers, was launched and controlled from the U.S.

So were a third of all web-based attacks, 49 percent of phishing web sites, 13 percent of malware-infected bots and 17 percent of attacks on major networks.

China, famous for cyberespionage, was No. 1 in network attacks (27 percent), No. 1 in attacks made on or through web sites and made the top five in nearly every other category of cybercrime.

The biggest source of malware was India, whose huge software-development industry has apparently been diverted to more lucrative pursuits.

"The level of professionalism is amazing and I don't see a slowdown," according to a Computerworld story quoting Pablo Martinez, deputy special agent in charge at the U.S. Secret Service.

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