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Data thieves form digital underground

June 14, 2011 at 1:33 PM

WASHINGTON, June 14 (UPI) -- The black market price for a consumer's credit card information may rise this year, a report issued by the U.S. Secret Service and Verizon suggests.

The report says 3.8 million personal records were stolen in 2010, which means supply is getting tighter. In 2008, 360 million personal records were stolen, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

At the same time, there is growing demand for personal information that enables thieves to make purchases with a victim's stolen data.

Where does one shop around for stolen data?

"Online bazaars," Secret Service special agent Pablo Martinez said.

These bazaars are "growing exponentially and we have seen the entire process become more professional," Martinez said.

In Russia, the Times said, Xakep.ru, an online hacker forum, has 13,300 official members. Cyveillance reported another site, HackZone.ru, has 58,000 members.

The hackers buying and selling personal information do not know the identity of their suppliers or customers. HackZone, the Times reported, has a member using the name "zoloto" who is selling information advertised as "valid 100 percent."

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