Feeds

Malware gangs using 'KGB-tactics' to recruit tech grads

Hacksplotation

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Organised crime is "grooming" a new generation of would-be cybercriminals using tactics which echo those used by the KGB to recruit operatives at the height of the cold war, according to a new blockbuster study by net security firm McAfee.

McAfee's second annual Virtual Criminology report sensationally claims that crime gangs are targeting academic high-fliers in much the way Soviet intelligence agencies recruited spies such as notorious traitor Kim Philby in the 1940s. The study, which we reckon might prove a plausible basis for the next Tom Clancy blockbuster, suggests that net savvy teens as young as 14 are being "attracted into cybercrime by the celebrity status of hi-tech criminals and the promise of making money without the risks associated with traditional crime".

The idea that young script kiddies dabble in illegality partly due to the publicity afforded to convicted virus writers, often wrongly described as tech geniuses who foiled experts in the mainstream press, has legs. As does the suggestion that high tech crimes often go undetected. But McAfee takes a flight of fancy when it talks about the "malware milkround".

A process by which organised crime is now "employing KGB-style tactics to ensnare the next generation of hackers and malware authors. Cybercriminals are actively approaching students and graduates of IT technology courses to recruit a fresh wealth of cyber skill to their ranks," McAfee breathlessly suggests.

Such a scenario has never been the subject of a criminal case and it beggars belief that infamous VXers, such as the Send Safe gang, would venture into Western Europe, where they would face arrest. Unfortunately there's more than enough criminal talent in Russia, other regions of eastern Europe and China to keep the malware industry going for years to come. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.