Feeds

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

Hacksplotation

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

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. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.