According to a recent report [PDF file] from Russian cyber security firm Group-IB, Russian-speaking cybercriminals earned approximately $4.5 billion last year, twice as much as they made in 2010.

"In the report, Group-IB differentiates between cybercriminals living in Russia and Russian-speaking cybercriminals, who include citizens of the countries of the former Soviet Union and other countries," writes Computerworld's Loek Essers. "In the 28-page report the researchers estimate that the total share of the Russian cybercrime market alone doubled to $2.3 billion, while the whole Russian-speaking segment of the global cybercrime market also almost doubled, to $4.5 billion."

""The report credited the cash cow with the increasing organization and professionalization of the shady underground, a shift ushered in by the arrival of traditional mob groups," writes SC Magazine's Dan Kaplan. "They are combining their skills to form a more centralized structure, and are sharing stolen data and access to botnets."

"The most lucrative form of Russian cybercrime last year was online fraud, which brought in nearly a billion dollars, followed by spam which topped $830 million," writes ABC News' Kirit Radia. "The Group-IB report blamed lax Russian laws for the expansion of cybercrime. While the Russian government has tried to tighten legislation aimed at preventing and punishing such activity, the company said more was needed."

"Although the Russian government has take some very positive steps, we think it needs to go further by changing existing law enforcement practices, establishing proper international cooperation and ultimately improving the number of solved computer crimes," Group-IB CEO Ilya Sachkov said in a statement.