The annual Symantec Internet Security Threat Report revealed that the market for stolen personal information, including credit card details, names addresses and dates of birth has grown enormously. This has lead to a war of price consequently leading to the lowering of prices for the information required to carry out a fraud.
And, according to the investigators, the UK suffered the second highest level of malicious online activity in the Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), with 11 per cent of the region's total. However, Germany topped the list with 14 per cent.
It was also revealed that credit card information was the most sought after, and details sold for as little as 40pence, while some could even fetch 20 pounds.
"This recession-proof underground economy is reaching such a level of growth and maturity that there are signs of a price war developing, as online criminals find it increasingly easy to steal private details, and barter to sell them for bargain prices," the Telegraph quoted Guy Bunker, of Symantec, as saying.
The study also found that hacking and other online crimes were no more the territory of 'spotty teenages' but has gotten more sophisticated.