Daily Archives: November 24, 2008

New Symantec Report Reveals Booming Underground Economy

Symantec Corp. released its Report on the Underground Economy. The report details an online underground economy that has matured into an efficient, global marketplace in which stolen goods and fraud-related services are regularly bought and sold, and where the estimated value of goods offered by individual traders is measured in millions of dollars. The report is derived from data gathered by Symantec’s Security Technology and Response (STAR) organization, from underground economy servers between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008.

The potential value of total advertised goods observed by Symantec was more than $276 million for the reporting period. This value was determined using the advertised prices of the goods and services and measured how much advertisers would make if they liquidated their inventory.

Credit card information is the most advertised category of goods and services on the underground economy, accounting for 31 percent of the total. While stolen credit card numbers sell for as little as $0.10 to $25 per card, the average advertised stolen credit card limit observed by Symantec was more than $4,000. Symantec has calculated that the potential worth of all credit cards advertised during the reporting period was $5.3 billion.

The popularity of credit card information is likely due to the many ways this information can be obtained and used for fraud; credit cards are easy to use for online shopping and it’s often difficult for merchants or credit providers to identify and address fraudulent transactions before fraudsters complete these transactions and receive their goods. Also, credit card information is often sold to fraudsters in bulk, with discounts or free numbers provided with larger purchases.

The second most common category of goods and services advertised was financial accounts at 20 percent of the total. While stolen bank account information sells for between $10 and $1,000, the average advertised stolen bank account balance is nearly $40,000. Calculating the average advertised balance of a bank account together with the average price for stolen bank account numbers, the worth of the bank accounts advertised during this reporting period was $1.7 billion. The popularity of financial account information is likely due to its potential for high payouts and the speed at which payouts can be made. In one case, financial accounts were cashed out online to untraceable locations in less than 15 minutes.

During the reporting period, Symantec observed 69,130 distinct active advertisers and 44,321,095 total messages posted to underground forums. The potential value of the total advertised goods for the top 10 most active advertisers was $16.3 million for credit cards and $2 million for bank accounts. Furthermore, the potential worth of the goods advertised by the single most active advertiser identified by Symantec during the study period was $6.4 million.

The underground economy is geographically diverse and generates revenue for cybercriminals who range from loose collections of individuals to organized and sophisticated groups. During this reporting period, North America hosted the largest number of such servers, with 45 percent of the total; Europe/Middle East/Africa hosted 38 percent; followed by Asia/Pacific with 12 percent and Latin America with 5 percent. The geographical locations of underground economy servers are constantly changing to evade detection.

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Posted by on November 24, 2008 in Symantec


HP Takes Lead in TOP 500 Supercomputing List

For the second consecutive year, the powerful and energy-efficient HP BladeSystem c-Class server has dominated the TOP500 list of the world’s largest supercomputing installations by delivering a flexible architecture that provides customers with measurable cost, space and energy savings.

Including systems built on HP ProLiant architectures, HP now commands a total of 41.8 percent of systems on the TOP500 list.

HP BladeSystem powers 40.2 percent of the systems on the most recently announced list; this represents more blade installations than all other vendors combined. Versatile, energy-efficient and affordable, HP blade servers provide customers with the maximum density required for high-performance and scale-out computing.
With 201 placements, the number of HP BladeSystem servers on the TOP500 list has increased by 5 percentage points compared to the June 2008 ranking and by 10 percentage points compared to June 2007. The number of high-performance computing (HPC) installations using blade servers on the TOP500 list has increased more than any other single computing architecture. In fact, blade-powered systems are increasingly replacing proprietary systems in the HPC area and legacy mainframe architectures in commercial environments.

“Customers can maximize their high-performance computing investments while increasing energy efficiency with blades, clearly improving their bottom line,” said Veronica Abad Escalante, Industry Standard Servers product manager. “The continued dominance of HP BladeSystem customers on the TOP500 list demonstrates the growing market demand for industry-standard architectures that address a broader set of computing challenges at a far lower cost than proprietary systems and mainframes.”

Emphasizing the strong momentum of HP blade technology in the market, the HP ProLiant BL2x220c G5 powers several of the most power efficient industry-standard supercomputing clusters, including WETA Digital Ltd. in New Zealand, Cyfronet in Poland and Columbia University in New York City. The BL2x220C G5 delivers up to 260 megaflops-per-watt ratio(1) running the TOP 500 Linpack Benchmark across a single, 32-node enclosure.

This performance benefit, coupled with double the performance per rack, positions the HP BL2x220c as the leading server blade for customers that need maximum application performance without the additional infrastructure costs.

According to IDC’s worldwide HPC server Qview report, HP is the leading provider of HPC servers with 37 percent of the overall market based on revenue in the second quarter of 2008.(2)

“Over the last several years, we’ve seen an explosive growth of blade servers for a widening range of high-performance computing applications – from digital media creation and online gaming to more traditional HPC applications such as computer-aided design,” said Earl Joseph, program vice president, High-performance Computing, IDC Research. “Previously, customers’ only choice for HPC was a high-end, multi-million dollar supercomputer. Now, blades offer a highly flexible, scalable, lower-budget alternative to the proprietary systems that historically dominated the TOP500 list.”

Top-ranking HP customers
Having recently doubled the size of its supercomputing cluster configuration, Academy Award-winning animation company WETA Digital is now ranked 101-104 on the TOP500 list. The new system consists of four supercomputing clusters and is powered by 1,280 HP BL2x220c server blades, which provide 205 teraflops(3) accumulated peak performance.

As a result of the increased application performance and improvements in energy efficiency, WETA Digital has the processing density to produce cutting-edge digital animation faster, while still lowering operations overhead.

“In the world of visual effects, finding technology that is faster and energy-efficient is one of the most influential components to maintaining a competitive edge in this crowded marketplace,” said Paul Ryan, chief technology officer, WETA Digital.

“HP’s new BL2x220c has enabled us to double our processing capacity in the existing physical data center space. As a result, we’ve been able to increase capacity without building out our data center or experiencing additional power consumption costs associated with cooling hundreds of blades,” added Adam Shand, systems team lead, WETA Digital.
Also making a mark on the TOP500 list is India’s Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC). C-DACs “PARAM Cluster” is ranked 69 on the list, with a system powered by 288 HP ProLiant DL580 G5 servers that offer a peak performance of 54 teraflops per second.

About the rankings
The TOP500 ranking of supercomputers is released twice a year by researchers at the Universities of Tennessee and Mannheim, Germany, and at NERSC Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The list ranks supercomputers worldwide based on the Linpack N*N Benchmark, a yardstick of performance that is a reflection of processor speed and scalability.

More information about HP HPC is available at

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Posted by on November 24, 2008 in HP