Credit cards most frequently advertised item on black economy servers - trading for as little as 25p, according to a Symantec report.

The US-focused study found that nearly a quarter of the goods for sale on the online black market during the first half of the year were credit cards, selling for between 25p and £2.50 and more than 85 per cent were issued by US-based banks.

This was closely followed by bank accounts, 21 per cent, which are trading for between £15 and £198.

“The barriers for conducting cyber crime have been lowered with the emergence of underground economy servers,” said Kevin Hogan, director of Secure Contents Operations at Symantec. “The tools available are a reflection of the booming e-crime industry where credit cards and full identities are becoming cheaper and easier to buy online.”

Other data found for sale included email password and address lists, PINs and government issued numbers.

Between January and June 2007 nearly two-thirds of illegal online repositories were located in the US, while four per cent of internet trading sites were hosted in the UK, compared to just two per cent in the previous period.

The Internet Security Threat report volume XII covered the six-month period from January to June 2007.