McAfee has announced findings from a new research, which reveals how organized crime is grooming a new generation of high-flying cyber criminals.
The second annual McAfee Virtual Criminology Report 2006 report into organized crime and the Internet, with input from Europe’s leading hi-tech crime units and the FBI, suggests crime gangs are targeting top students from leading academic institutions to provide them with the skills they need to commit hi-tech crime on a mass scale.
The study reveals how Internet savvy teens as young as 14 are being attracted into cyber crime by the celebrity status of hi-tech criminals and the promise of making money without the risks associated with traditional crime.
The report shows how cyber criminals are moving away from bedrooms and into public places such as Internet cafes and Wi-Fi enabled coffee shops. It also shows that cyber crime has established a cult following with online offenders rising almost to celebrity status within hacking communities.
Besides, cyber criminals are actively approaching students and graduates of IT technology courses to recruit a fresh wealth of cyber skill to their ranks. And they are even sponsoring graduates with a view to gaining the lucrative insider’s view of enterprises.
In a statement, Greg Day, Security Analyst, McAfee, commented, “Cyber crime is no longer in its infancy, it is big business. Criminal entrepreneurs can make fast money with minimal risk and their ranks are growing with that realization. With technology continually evolving, criminal opportunity is also growing, an opportunity that is global and unrestricted by geography, language, or appearance.”
The McAfee Virtual Criminology Report 2006 highlights how the virtual anonymity and stealth of attack that the online environment affords means detection is a growing challenge for law enforcement. The main threats, tools, and opportunities that organized crime is exploiting, include mind games, social scams, data seepage, and botnets.
The report also highlights threats that will become much more prevalent over the next 12 months. Smartphones and multifunctional mobiles are making portable computers essential lifestyle accessories and predictions are that cyber criminals will increasingly mine them for valuable information in the coming months. The increasing use of Bluetooth and VoIP will also lead to a new generation of phone hacking.
And by sharing its insight and knowledge of 20 years experience in security, McAfee hopes to help people and businesses proactively protect themselves 24/7 against the latest cyber threats and prevent the disruption or theft of vital personal or corporate information.