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Online crime matures beyond adolescence
Published: 2006-01-24

Cybercrime is moving from broad ego-driven outbreaks to much smaller targeted attacks aimed at stealing sensitive data or extorting money from companies, IBM stated in its 2005 Global Business Security Index Report released on Monday.

The conclusion explains the apparent drop in high-profile attacks in 2005, a year that saw only moderate threats such as the Zotob worm and the Sober virus. The company, however, saw a major increase in the number of targeted attacks, which generally are not well covered by the media. Between two and three targeted attacks were intercepted each week in 2005, according to a summary of the IBM report.

"IBM believes that the environment has shifted," Cal Slemp, vice president of IBM's security and privacy services, said in a statement. "With increased security protection on most systems and stiffer penalties, we are seeing organized, committed, and tenacious profiteers enter this space. This means that attacks will be more targeted and potentially damaging."

The recent guilty plea by a 20-year-old California man for compromising hundreds of thousands of computers to create a botnet and then selling access to those computers underscores the shift in cybercrime towards more profitable activity.

Posted by: Robert Lemos
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