Three Ways Internet Crime Has Changed

Malware and botnets and phishing, oh my! Symantec's latest report on the Internet threat landscape highlights trends in cybercrime.

Gone are the days when most hackers were looking for fame with a splashy, large-scale attack on a network that made headlines. Today's cybercriminals are quietly taking over vulnerable web sites as part of an elaborate process in the underground economy.

Security products provider Symantec publishes a biannual internet threat report. Data collected through their managed security services are reviewed an analyzed for the report, which was recently published in its 13th edition.

One trend highlighted in the report change is the motivation of hackers, according to the data. "The trend has moved from hacking attempts being done for notoriety to hacking for criminal intent and fraud," said Grant Geyer, vice president of Symantec Managed Security Services.

How are cyber criminals working today? And what do you need to know to stay on top with your security strategy? Read on for the latest news on malicious web activity.

Botnets spearhead for-profit hacker activities

The latest data from Symantec confirms that the web is now an integral tool for criminals looking to make money (not merely mischief). Malware-infected systems are used as network of bots for a wide variety of inappropriate activities.

"Bots can do denial of service attacks, they can be used to send out spam, to send out phishing data, they can be the Swiss Army knife of malware distribution," said Geyer. "We're seeing more and more of both consumers, as well as corporations, being targeted by bots for malicious purposes."

Bots, Geyer confirms, are being used as business model; part of the underground economy that is run and organized like any major corporation.

"If you want access, if you want one of these bot networks to send out your specific spam message, you can purchase time on bot network, there are rates being established," noted Geyer. "Bots are also being used to steal confidential data. Credit card numbers are sold online. Market prices are established for that, too."

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