online banking vs credit cards

Cyber criminals have branched beyond selling credit card numbers, according to researchers at Panda Security. In a statement to reporters, representatives from the company's PandaLabs unit revealed details of their latest investigation into the online black market for consumer information.

Identity thieves rely on networks of anonymous bulletin boards and live chat sessions to trade login details from customers' online banking and brokerage accounts. Focusing on personal information allows criminals to repeatedly break into consumers' accounts, even after individual credit card numbers have been reported as stolen. While a stolen credit card number can net as little as $2 on the black market, the login for an online banking service can fetch as much as $700.

However, investigators also uncovered some trends that could hamper cyber criminal operations. Resale of consumer information has become so widespread, novice criminals often purchase accounts that have already been reported stolen or deactivated. The most sophisticated criminals must still rely on some face-to-face transactions, especially for activities like large-scale money laundering.

PandaLabs researchers have made their full white paper available for free download from their website.