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Not-so-virtual theft will probably increase

Miguel Helft in his “Bits” column in the New York Times today reported that researchers expect the sale of virtual goods to hit $2.1 billion next year.

Media research firm Inside Network estimated that the sale of virtual goods — such as items in the Zynga Facebook games, mobile games and virtual worlds — will hit $1.6 billion this year and $2.1 billion in 2011.

With such growth I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to predict that the Internet underworld will be intensifying its efforts to tap some of that “value,” whether it’s hard cash or Facebook credits. These scams aren’t new – there’s a whole third-world “gold farming” industry — but with that kind of money out there I’m sure we’re going to see more hacking, social engineering and probably malcode taking aim at the “revenue streams.”

Bits blog here: Virtual Goods Expected to Grow by 40 Percent Next Year, Study Says

Tom Kelchner