The global black market has the ability to create financial losses for corporations and governments worldwide. Threat intelligence of the illegal trade is provided to help mitigate this risk. Reports and assessments has been collected from various sources such as government agencies, academic reports, media publications and reported data from our readers.
According to previous estimates by security agencies and the financial industry, between $1.5 Trillion to $2.5 Trillion is laundered around the world each year.
In order to combat terrorist financing, drug trafficking profits and tax evasion, countries have implements various financial regulations and created inter-governmental bodies such as the Financial Action Task Force. In order to comply with the anti-laundering regulations, financial firms and banks in the United States spend an estimated $7 Billion per year in compliance measures.
The results from these measures leads to a 0.2 percent seizure rate of laundered money in the United States.
One reason given for the difficulty of seizing illicit funds is due to the small amounts needed to create terrorism. According to Bloomberg, the September 11 attacks cost less than $500,000 to plan and implement. The Al-Qaeda attacks in Madrid and London cost $100,000 to carry out.
(See more money laundering statistics.)
Source: Charles Kenny, “Why the World Is So Bad at Tracking Dirty Money,” Bloomberg Business, February 23, 2015.
At the start of 2015, media reports place the average ransomware demand to be $500.
This figure is based upon several public sources.
The first source is based upon a writer in the New York Times who stated that her mother was a victim of ransomware. The authors mother had her computer locked up based on CryptoWall. After encrypting the computer, the malware demanded $500 to be paid by Bitcoins release the hold. If the amount wasn’t paid by the end of the week, then the demand would increase to $1,000.
The second source is from a report by The Economist. In its article, the magazine reports that the average ransom has fallen from $800 several years ago. It uses examples of extortion victims who paid $644 (€510) in Italy, and a sheriffs office in Tennessee that paid $572 to recover thousands of files that were encrypted. The Economist also states that between August and December 2014, around 16,000 people paid $7 Million (8 Million Australian Dollars) after their computers were encrypted with ransomware.
The owner of the Bitcoin wallet that received the ransom in Italy received up to $109,400 worth of bitcoins in following 8 days after the ransomware was discovered.
Source: Alina Simone, “How My Mom Got Hacked,” New York Times, January 2, 2015.
Source: “Your money or your data,” Economist, January 15, 2015.
According to statistics from the Office of the Narcotics Control Board and the Narcotics Suppression Bureau, there are 1.3 million people in Thailand who are addicted to drugs. This translates to roughly 2 percent of Thailand’s population.
Out of the 1.3 million drug addicts in the country, 250,000 have been prosecuted at one time and have been sent to prison. Military officials stated taht in some years, between 60 to 70 percent of soldiers signing up for the Thai Military have a history of drug addiction.
During the 2013-2014 fiscal year, public health officials stated that 359,399 drug addicts in Thailand underwent rehabilitation programs.
Source: King-oua Laohong, “Thailand ‘now a drugs hub’ ,” Bangkok Post, December 19, 2014.
An investigation by the New York Times found that Al Queada and its affiliates have taken at least $125 million in revenue from kidnapping for ransom since 2008. Roughly half, or $66 Million, was paid out in 2013.
The United States Treasury put the total at $165 million for the same period.
Since 2008, the following countries have paid Al Qaeda the following amounts (given in 2014 US dollars) for releasing kidnapped citizens:
- France: $58.1 Million
- Qatar and Oman: $20.4 Million
- Switzerland: $12.4 Million
- Spain: $11 Million
- Austria: $3.2 Million
- Undetermined Countries: $21.4 Million
Analysis conducted by the NY Times found that 15 percent of hostages that have been taken by Al Qaeda between 2008 and 2014 were executed or died in captivity.
Source: Rukmini Callimachi, “Paying Ransoms, Europe Bankrolls Qaeda Terror,” New York Times, July 29, 2014
According to a report by the United Nations, an estimated $6.6 Million was made in 2010 by human smugglers bringing in illegal migrants to the United States.
The revenue was generated by migrants paying anywhere between $150 to $100,000. The fees charged by the smugglers was dependent on the immigrants country of origin. Charges covered everything needed for the journey, such as hotel stays, bribes and taxes paid to the drug cartels.
The United States Border Control apprehended 57,000 unaccompanied minors trying to illegaly enter the United States between October 2013 and June 2014.
(More human smuggling statistics.)
Source: Associated Press, “Migration Spotlights Mexican ‘Coyote’ Smugglers,” ABC News, July 21, 2014
According to security reporter Brian Kerbs, hackers are selling computer programs that automatically click on competitors advertisements in order to drain their budget.
The service automotates bots that commit click fraud throughout the Google Adsense network. By having bots click on the ads, a business can quickly drain their competitors ads to prevent it from being seen.
The service is available for sale on underground Russian forums and has both subscription and flat rate options. For $100, buyers of the service can target 3 to 10 ad units for up to 24 hours. For a flat rate of $1,000, small businesses can drain the ads of a handful of competitors and prevent them from being seen indefinitely.
Fees are paid upfront with the use of virtual currencies such as WebMoney.
(More prices of underground hacking services.)
Source: Brian Kerbs, ” Hacker service drains Google AdWords budgets,” Sydney Morning Herald, June 28, 2014
According to a study by the Small Arms Survey, there are an estimated 10 million firearms and guns circulating in the hands of civilians in Thailand.
The price of buy a gun in Thailand costs about $2,600 on the black market, according to previous reports.
(More prices of AK-47s and other guns on the black market.)
Source: Charlie Campbell, “If There’s Going to Be a Thai Civil War, Isaan Will Be Its Front Line,” Time, July 2, 2014.
The agency responsible for anti-money laundering campaigns in Singapore reported an increase in cases during 2013.
According to the Commercial Affairs Department, the agency received 22,417 suspicious transaction reports during the 2013 year, and increase of 25 percent from the previous year. In 341 instances, the agency provided intelligence to foreign agencies, up from the 160 cases of intelligence sharing that took place in 2012.
In total, security officials in Singapore seized over $92 Million (115 Million Singaporean Dollars) in suspected criminal proceeds.
According to a spokesman for the agency, more transnational organized crime groups are using the country’s financial industry in order to move their illicit funds.
(Examples of money laundering.)
Source: Andrea Tan, “Singapore Says More Overseas Criminals Seek Bank Accounts,” Bloomberg Businessweek, July 2, 2014.
Security forces in Cambodia arrested two Cambodia men for organizing a kidney selling ring in Thailand. The men ran an organ trafficking ring that sent 5 people to hospitals in Thailand with fake documents in order to have their kidneys removed.
According to police officials, the men sold the kidney’s for $10,000 (325,000 Thai Baht). To the human sellers who sold their kidneys, the men paid them between $3,000 to $5,000.
(See how much kidneys sell for in the organ trafficking market.)
According to reports from wildlife organization Save the Elephants, the price for raw ivory in China was $2,100 per kilogram.
Back in 2010, the price of the ivory was $750 per kilo.
Between 2010 and 2012, up to 33,000 elephants were poached and killed on average each year.
(See the price of elephants for sale on the global black market here.)
Source: AFP, “Smuggled elephant ivory price triples,” Yahoo News, July 3, 2014.