United States Security Threats

Data and information about security threats from the United States black market. Intelligence and security data collected from government agencies, news articles and other public information sources.

In a study of global commercial truck drivers, nearly half of drivers tested postive to using alcohol when driving, and 30 percent used amphetamines to stay awake during long trips.

The study conducted by the Universidada Estadual de Londrina in Brazil found that the number of users varied widely by country. In Brazil, 91 percent of truck drivers stated that they drank alcohol while working, compared to 9 percent in Pakistan.

83 percent of truck drivers in Thailand tested positive for amphetamines, compared to 0.2 percent in Norway.

In the United States, 12.5 percent of commercial drivers tested positive for alcohol.

The Federal Highway Police in Brazil stated that marijuana, cocaine, heroin, amphetamines and LSD were all easily found at gas stations and rest stop locations. Brazil has the most traffic accidents in the world.

(More meth facts and abuse information.)

Source:  Kathyrn Doyle, “Drug use high among commercial truck drivers: study,” Reuters, October 25, 2013.

According to a report by Noisey, the price of prescription strength cough syrup sold on the black market varies across the United States. On average, pints of the cough syrup can cost between $250 to $400. In Houston, a pint can sell for up to $1,000, and in Atlanta pints have been reportedly sold for $1,200.

On Instagram, users have been selling bottles of Actavis Promethazine Cough Syrup with Codeine on their accounts. One dealer was quoted as offering a pint of Actavis for $350, and 2 pints for $600.

(Additional statistics about prescription drug abuse.)

The cough syrup is mixed with Sprite and Jolly Rancher candy in a cup to create a purple liquid. The drug, commonly known as Lean, Sizzurp, Drank, and other names, is often referenced to by rappers in their music, which has contributed to their popularity. In a recent survey of high school seniors, 5.5 percent of respondents said that they used the drug.

(More prices of illegal drugs and other black market prices.)

Source: Fletcher Babb, “Lean On Me: Emoji Death Threats and Instagram’s Codeine Kingpin,” Noisey, Vice, October 24, 2013.

Police in Japan arrested over 24,000 yakuza members across the country in 2012. Included in the arrests were 23 bosses of the Yamaguchi-gumi, the largest organized crime syndicate in Japan. The crimes that the members were arrested for included extortion, illegal drugs, illegal gambling, theft and fraudulent activities.

In addition to arrests, yakuza groups across Japan have seen its membership decline in recent years.  According to intelligence by the National Police Agency, the recent high in membership occurred in 2004, where there were 87,000 yakuza members. Membership was declining roughly 3 percent each year until 2011, when the number of yakuza dropped 11 percent. It dropped another 10 percent in 2012 to leave a total of 63,200 members at the start of 2013.

(See additional information about today’s organized crime groups.)

Security officials in Japan and the United States attribute these declines to increase actions taken by financial regulators in both countries. In 2011, Japan passed a law making it illegal to conduct business with yakuza members. The United States Treasury Department also started to freeze the assets of the three largest yakuza gangs in the country. A freedom of information request by Bloomberg News found that two American Express cards issued to yakuza bosses were frozen.

Intelligence from security agencies state that the yakuza earns its revenue from various black market crimes, ranging from drug trafficking, human trafficking, prostitution, extortion and money laundering. Before the financial crackdown, the gangs were diversifying their income streams to include construction, waste management, and financial services.

Source:  Terje Langeland and Takahiko Hyuga, “Yakuza Bosses Whacked by Regulators Freezing AmEx Cards.” Bloomberg, October 22, 2013.

According to a study conducted by Ontario Drug Policy Research Network, thousands of OxyContin pills dispersed in Canada ended up being smuggled into the United States during an 18 month period.

Between August 2010 and February 2012, Canada was offering the more addictive form of Oxy, while the United States was offering a tamper-resistant version of the drug that was not addictive. Researchers found that there was a large increase in the dispensing of OxyContin tablets at the Detroit-Windser tunnel area of the border between the two countries. During the time period, up to 250,000 OxyContin tablets were sold in excess than the amount needed in Canada. These pills are believed to have been smuggled into the United States for sale.

(More facts about pain killer abuse and statistics.)

Source:  Canadian Press, “Canada to heed U.S. pleas to crack down on generic OxyContin, Ambrose hints,” Global Post, October 21, 2013.

In the first 8 months of 2013, security agencies in the US State of Ohio recorded 770 crystal meth lab busts in the state. The number of meth lab busts is already the highest ever recorded for a year in Ohio.

Back in 2008, there were 112 meth lab busts recorded across the state. The number of reports have increased each year.

Similarly to Florida, authorities are attributing the rise to the use of easier methods of cooking meth.

(See the price of meth around the world.)

Source:  Jake Kauffman, “Record Number of Meth Lab Busts in Ohio in 2013,” WTRF 7 News, October 20, 2013.

According to figures released by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the number of methamphetamine busts in the state of Florida has been increasing in recent years.

In 2010, the DEA recorded 455 meth busts within the state. 676 meth busts were recorded in 2011, and 852 busts took place in 2012.

In the first half of 2013, law enforcement conducted 597 meth busts.

Security experts attribute the rise in meth labs to the use of the “Shake and Bake” method of cooking meth. Using a 2-liter bottle and materials purchased at retail stores,  meth users are cooking meth in smaller batches in less time. While the previous popular method of cooking a batch of meth took 2 days, the shake and bake method takes about 45 minutes.

(Additional methamphetamine facts.)

Source:  Millard K. Ives, “Law enforcement trying to shake up new meth recipe,” Daily Commercial, October 20, 2013.

During the second quarter of 2013, cloud-computing firm Akamai reported that 38 percent of cyber attacks worldwide was traced back to IP addresses located in Indonesia. The number of attacks from Indonesia increased from 21 percent in the first three months of 2013.

China previously had the most cyber attacks sourced to its country, with 34 percent in the first quarter of 2013. In the second quarter, it registerd 33 percent of online attacks. The United States was third with 6.9 percent of attacks.

The company also saw a 54 percent increase in distributed denial-of-service (DDos) attacks during the three month period.

In total, Akamai observed cyber attacks originating from IP addresses located in 175 different countries during the second quarter of 2013.

Full Report (PDF):  Akamai, “The State of the Internet, 2nd Quarter, 2013 Report,” October 16, 2013.

Media Source:  Lily Kuo, “Indonesia just passed China as the world’s top apparent source of cyber attacks,” Quartz, October 16, 2013.

A survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that the US state of Vermont has the highest rate of illegal drug abuse in the country. 15 percent of residents of Vermont used an illicit drug within the past month when surveyed. In comparison, Utah had the lowest amount of drug use with 4.2 percent of its residents using an illegal drug.

13 percent of Vermont’s residents used marijuana.

Heroin us is also increasing in use and the price of the drug is increasing as well. A bag of heroin can cost $5 in large cities, but costs up to $30 in Rutland, Vermont.

(How much does heroin cost?)

Source:  Pamela Engel, “Why Vermont Has a Drug Problem,” Slate, October 13, 2013.

The costs of cyber attacks to the global economy could be as high as $400 Billion, according to a research paper published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and McAfee.

In examples of the losses collected by Reuters, one unidentified company in the United Kingdom reported losses of $1.29 Billion from a cyber attack. Security agencies in the UK reported that it blocked 400,000 advanced cyber threats to its intranet in 2012.

In the United States, the size of the US military’s Cyber Command will quadruple from 2012 to 2013.

In a separate threat research publication, computer company HP stated that the average cost of cyber attacks to a large corporation was $11.56 Million.

Source:  Peteer Apps and Brenda Goh, “Cyber warrior shortage hits anti-hacker fightback,” Reuters, October 13, 2013.

Full Report (PDF): “The Economic Impact Of Cybercrime and Cyber Espionage,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, July 2013, available from McAfee website.

The United States saw its first reported cases of Krokodil in September 2013 in the state of Arizona. Several weeks later, there were 3 reported cases in the state of Illinois.

According to addiction doctors in Illinois, the price for a hit of krokodil is $8. Drug addicts use krokdil as a cheaper alternative to heroin, which can cost between $25 to 30 per hit.

(Costs of heroin by country.)

Source:  Brian Stanley, “Doctor: Flesh-eating ‘Crocodile’ drug surfaces in Will County,” Herald News, October 9, 2013.