As the industrial automation industry continues to consolidate, so does the cybercrime industry in Russia as professional crime syndicates are teaming with cybercrime gangs, a new report said.

The global cybercrime market hit $12.5 billion in 2011 — $2.3 billion of which came from the Russian national cybercrime scene, up from $1.2 billion in 2010. Russian-speaking cybercrime, or fraud committed by Russian-speaking hackers in their home countries or in other countries, was $4 billion last year, according to Group-IB, a Russia-based cybercrime investigation and computer forensics firm.

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Online fraud and spam are the biggest money-makers for Russian cybercrime, with online fraud (online banking, phishing, and other financial fraud) at $942 million last year, and spam at $830 million. Cybercriminals buying and selling one another’s anonymization services, malware, and traffic yielded $230 million, followed by DDoS revenue of $130 million.

The once-disorganized and ad-hoc Russian cybercrime market is evolving into a more professional and coordinated one, Group-IB said. Not only are existing cybercrime gangs working together and sharing stolen information, botnets, and other money-making fraud schemes, Russian Mob groups also are reaching out to these gangs to expand their portfolios.

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“With the imperfections in the existing laws, this has the threat of an explosive increase of attacks on the financial sector,” the report said.

While new Russian laws against cybercrime have made some inroads, they are not sufficient, Group-IB said.

“The cybercrime market originating from Russia costs the global economy billions of dollars every year,” said Ilya Sachkov, chief executive of Group-IB. “Although the Russian government has [taken] some very positive steps, we think it needs to go further by changing existing law enforcement practices, establishing proper international cooperation and ultimately improving the number of solved computer crimes.”

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