The UK is the best market for cyber criminals to hack into online banking accounts or steal valuable information, a data analyst has claimed.

Security consultant at Trend Micro, Bharat Mistry, has mapped the global trends for cyber crime to identify the areas where certain activities are most prevalent. Interestingly, these shine a mirror onto the countries in question. Brazil, for example, has very little market for illicit drug sales online, as they’re reasonably easy to procure in the real world. The country does, however, have more of a counterfeit cash issue. In the USA, meanwhile, hitmen are in disproportionately high demand.

Back in the UK, online banking is the big target for cyber criminals across the world. This, Mistry claimed, was because the majority of UK residents use online banking – many of whom do so every day. Furthermore, high credit card limits mean that criminals who get their hands on the data could make a great deal from it.

“The UK is the most cyber-dependent country,” he said. “That brings another level of attraction. Not only does it attract people in the UK but it also attracts people from outside the UK.”

It’s a similar story in the US and Canada, where credit card clones are a popular topic on hidden forums. Fake documentation, meanwhile, was found to be a common issue across all the markets surveyed.

Hackers are able to purchase software designed to commit computer fraud against UK account holders for as little as £5. Some of the more sophisticated programs, however, sell for thousands of pounds.

The Trend Micro researchers discovered 423 websites related to the trade or manufacture of illegal drugs, 327 that were concerned with finance, 122 offering illegal pornography and 96 for hacking services. Seventeen were related to violence, offering hitmen for hire or related instructional material.

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