Symantec's 'Dark Vision' mines carder sites

Symantec has developed a service that monitors carder forums for identity theft information.

Researchers at Symantec have developed a system that mines underground Web sites and chat rooms for sensitive information that is being sold.

Called Dark Vision, the system was first developed in mid-2006, and allows Symantec to "track the underground economy," said Oliver Friedrichs, director of emerging technologies with Symantec Security Response.

Symantec hasn't decided yet when or if it will roll Dark Vision into its product line. "At this point it's really an early prototype," Friedrichs said. "But we see a number of different opportunities, including the potential to warn consumers where we see their information being disclosed."

Identity thieves meet with information-buying criminals on a variety of "carder" Web sites, and then meet up in chat rooms or on Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels to buy and sell the data.

A credit card number can be bought for as little as US$6, Friedrichs said, but other information such as social security numbers, addresses, and telephone numbers is also there for the taking. "You can actually buy a complete identity of someone for... US$14 to US$18 on average," he said. "They're really dumping a variety of records"

Dark Vision gives security researchers a graphical presentation of the data it has mined from these Web sites and IRC chats, showing exactly where the carder servers are located and what is being discussed.

Because carders exchange the majority of their credit card information in secret -- and for a price -- Dark Vision captures only a small fraction of the data that has been stolen, generally recording only sample data that is posted in the forums to prove the seller is legitimate.

In its first three months of testing, Dark Vision dug up about 800 stolen credit card numbers, Friedrichs said.

Still, Friedrichs thinks the tool may be useful to credit card issuers or companies that are looking for early hints on the source of data breaches, and could be delivered as part of Symantec's global services organization.

Symantec is not the first company to look into mining this type of information for profit. A small Malibu, California, company called CardCops has already gone into a similar line of business, trolling the Internet for compromised data and reporting it to merchants, authorities, and consumers.

Last year the U.S. Department of Justice estimated that identity theft was affecting millions of households each year and costing about US$6.4 billion in losses annually

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?