The Digital Crimes Unit at Microsoft disrupted a botnet that took over 2 million PCs around the world.
The botnet called ZeroAccess would inject viruses onto the computer and hijack the results when the user would visit a search engine. Instead of sending the user to the page requested, the botnet would insert hyperlinks that the user would click on instead.
These links would generate ad revenues from major online advertising networks in a practice called “click fraud.” These clicks on online ads generated over $2.7 Million each month for the operator of the botnet.
It was previously reported that one in seven clicks on ads displayed online was due to click fraud.
(See more cyber threats and prices of stolen goods online.)
Source: Sean Gallagher, “Microsoft disrupts botnet that generated $2.7M per month for operators,” Ars Technica, December 6, 2013.
Security services in Italy estimate that the organized crime group ‘Ndragheta brings in up to $65 Billion (£40 Billion) a year in black market revenue.
One of the main revenue sources is in cocaine trafficking, where ‘Ndragheta controls up to 80 percent of the cocaine imported into Europe.
Another key areas of money is from “pizzo”, or the Mob Tax. Between 2008 and 2013, the European Union have granted $4.1 Billion (£2.5 Billion) in public works projects such as new roads to areas controlled by the “Ndraheta. Portions of these government money ends up being paid by construction firms to the syndicate.
Out of the total revenue that is collected, a third of the money is reinvested back into its criminal operations. The remaining money is either laundered into legitimate businesses, or is used to pay off corrupt police officers and politicians.
Source: Nigel Blundell, “The new godfathers: Deadlier and MORE secretive than the Sicilian mafia,” Mirror Online, December 8, 2013.
According to a survey conducted in France, one in three people in the country stated that they earned income in 2013 that was not taxed. In 2008, the figure was 13 percent.
Half of all people earning money as a babysitter did not declare their earnings in 2013. Half of teaching assistants also did not declare their earnings.
42 percent of domestic cleaners were paid under the table.
Of the over 1,000 people surveyed, 20 percent stated that they would pay in cash for services received.
The government agency that is responsible for collecting social security payments in France stated that the revenue coming in dropped by 8 percent in 2013. However, the number of people receiving benefits only dropped by 1 to 2 percent. Thus, experts believe that households in France are declaring less hours worked by babysitters and cleaners and are instead paying more in cash.
(Jobs and earnings from the illegal economy.)
Source: Anne Penketh, “Vive la black market! One in three French people say they have earned undeclared income this year,” Independent, December 8, 2013.
In 2012, government security services in Italy seized 28,000 tons of counterfeit food labels or adulterated products that was falsely labeled during the year. The counterfeit foods seized were worth $684 Million (€500 Million).
47 percent of the counterfeit labels involved Italian wine products.
4.6 tons of fake foods involved canned tomatoes, which were falsely labeled as organic or being produced in Italy.
Source: “Food pirates peddling fake olive oil, Chinese tomato sauce,” Ansa, December 5, 2013.
In 2008, file sharing of pirated content online accounted for 31 percent of all Internet traffic, according to Sandvine, a network equipment company.
In 2013, file sharing activity accounted for less than 10 percent of overall Internet activity.
Entertainment officials attribute the drop to the rise in free online streaming sites. In a study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, when ABC added television shows to popular streaming site Hulu, the illegal pirating of those shows dropped almost 20 percent when compared with a control group.
Source: Joshua Brustein, “Want to Fight Off Content Pirates? Just Stream Your Show for Free,” Bloomberg Businessweek, December 2, 2013.
According to the Chairman of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Hong Kong, up to 90 percent of all cancer drugs in Hong Kong are bought by residents of mainland China.
The mainlanders illegally buy the cancer drugs such as Herceptin in Hong Kong due to concerns about the medical counterfeit drugs and other safety issues. In addition, the cost to purchase drugs is cheaper than on the mainland. One man who was buying breast cancer treatment drugs for his wife stated that he would saave over $1,313 (8,000 Yuan) buying Herceptin in Hong Kong than in China.
Source: AFP, “Hong Kong’s illegal cancer drug trade driven by mainland buyers,” Google News, December 2, 2013.
The Black Guerrilla Family, a prison gang in the United States city of Baltimore, was running its operations with the help of prison guards.
It was previously reported that women guards were providing sex to inmates for $150.
According to the affidavit filed in federal court, male guards were assisting the gang by smuggling in contraband into the prison. Court documents state that one guard was making $3,000 to $5,000 a week by smuggling contraband to one inmate.
The way the corrections officer would smuggle items in to the prison varied by contraband. Many of the items, such as marijuana, would be hidden on the guards body. For cellphones, the guards would place the phone between pieces of bread and pack the phone as a sandwich in their lunch bag.
(More income and potential earnings from illegal jobs and activities.)
Source: Justin Peters, “The Best Tips and Tricks for Smuggling Drugs Into a Jail,” Slate, Crime Blog, November 25, 2013.
The academic journal Science reported that scientists in China pay between $1,500 to $24,850 to have their names listed as authors in academic papers.
One such paper that offered authorship for sale included a study on Alzheimer that was published in a legitimate Canadian journal.
The black market in authorship has around 27 Chinese companies that offer editing and research services. According to Science, the companies offer slots on papers written by legitimate scientists, plagiarize a separate paper, or create fake data and write a completely new paper.
Previously, the Economist magazine reported that fake research and academic papers industry in China generated $150 Million a year.
Source: Margaret Munro, “China’s academic ‘black market’ fooled Canadian journal, report says,” Province, November 28, 2013.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police saw an increase in the number of cases involving harmful counterfeit goods between 2005 and 2013.
In 2005, harmful counterfeits were involved with 11.5 percent of cases. By 2012, there were over 200 cases, or 30.4 percent of cases, that involved harmful fakes of toys, drugs, cosmetics, batteries and electronics.
In 2012, the counterfeit good that was most seized by the RCMP was counterfeit clothing and shoes, which accounted for 45 percent of all counterfeits seized, followed by pirated movies and music with 20 percent.
Source: Rita Demontis, “Beware of counterfeit goods on Black Friday,” Toronto Sun, November 28, 2013.