The latest Symantec Internet Security Threat Report found the underground networks and servers used to sell stolen data are becoming increasingly collaborative. During the last half of 2006, the number of computers infected by malicious bots grew by 29% to 6 million, while the number of servers relaying commands to these bots actually fell by 25%. The majority (51%) of all identified underground servers are in the U.S.
Hackers are going after particular pieces of confidential information, such as birthdates and Social Security, credit card and bank account numbers, which together form an identity. Symantec reported the rising number of Trojans and bot networks, which allow hackers to remotely access computers, caused a 48% increase in threats to this confidential information. In the underground economy, complete identities are worth $14 to $18, whereas individual credit card numbers only fetch $1 to $6.