Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cybercrime rises as markets fall

Recent data published by Panda Security shows a direct correlation between the instability of the stock market and a dramatic rise in cyber crime.

According to Jeremy Matthews, head of Panda Security’s sub-Saharan operations “When we began looking into the specific effects cyber-criminals had on the economy during times of duress we found a startling connection: the criminal economy is closely interrelated with the global economy.”

He says that based on extensive research and analysis done by Panda of emerging malware patterns, they believe that criminal organisations are closely watching market performance and adapting as needed to ensure maximum profit.

Some of the key findings include:
• On average, the US stock market experienced between a 3 to 7 percent decline from Sep 1 to Oct 9. However, activity on the “malware markets” was the opposite: it grew substantially as the stock markets declined.
• From Sep 5 to 16, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ, S&P 500 and Composite Index all dropped from the plus 0.0 percent range to approximately negative 3.0 percent or lower. In the same period the Spanish IBEX 35 index and the London FTSE 100 also suffered major losses. The same timeframe witnessed a significant surge in daily malware threats; for example from Sept. 8th to Sept 10th the volume of daily threats grew from 10 150 to well over 24 000.
• From Sep 14 to 16, stock markets dropped from -0.5 to -5.5 percent while daily threats grew 50 percent each day, from 8 276 on the 14 to over 31 404 on the 16th.

Panda Security has provided the following diagrams to better illustrate this correlation (please click on images for a larger version).

Fig.1 – Stock market evolutions (Sep 1 to Oct 9) – source:

Fig.2 – Threat evolutions with key highlights (Sep 1 to Oct 9) – source: PandaLabs

According to Panda Security, there is an increase in adware and there has been a dramatic surge of fake anti-virus software scams lately. Now is the time to be more vigilant and more suspicious than ever before. It is evident that cybercriminals will stop at nothing to get your money, especially in desperate situations. Please be careful!

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