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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Friday, July 19, 2024

Underground Economy Servers

Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
3:59 am

Two separate articles in USA Today caught my eye yesterday. In the first, It was reported that you can buy a complete, albeit spurious, identity for a mere $14. This small article referred to the recently-released Internet Security Threat Report, published by Symantec. Other interesting commentary on this report can be found here and here. As I was scanning the report, I bumped into a new (at least to me) and intriguing term: “underground economy servers,” referring to servers “used by criminals and criminal organizations to sell stolen information, typically for subsequent use in identity theft. This data can include government-issued identity numbers, credit cards, bank cards and personal identification numbers (PINs), user accounts, and email address lists.

Just think – a sinister economy based on phishing for and selling stolen Identities. But instead of secretive, smoke-filled, poorly lit rooms in some back-alley dive, this economy is purring along in modern data centers, right under our collective noses. Sounds downright scary if you stop to think about it.

That leads me to the next article – a larger treatise on the front page of the USA Today Money Section. It seems that two former IRS agents established a couple of obscure corporations right here in the US just to show how easy it is to set up and operate an untraceable money laundering operation without leaving the comfortable confines of the US.

Talk about “underground economy servers!” Just think – the Identity Theft guys could engage the Money Laundering guys and funnel all that money that comes from $14 identity sales out of the country quick as a wink, using the same banking system they are defrauding.

Sounds pretty “underground” to me.

Note: photo from Barron’s Online.

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