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Hackers Now have Support from the Social Community

According to Don Jackson, Senior Security Researcher at SecureWorks, a hacker no longer is the only person in his trade. People who write malicious codes feel that they are part of a larger community of similar malware developers. They now have social groups of their own to enjoy and benefit from. InformationWeek published this on December 20, 2007.

Criminals on the Internet today enjoy increased support to carry out their scams and attacks. Now they can purchase information about untapped exploits and automated malware kits to use in attacks. They can now hire botnets - collection of compromised PCs - to distribute spam, launch Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks or steal users' personal data. They can also invade others' computers through web forums and IRC chats. The cyber criminals today belong to a prosperous underground economy that is heading for further growth.

Reports from SecureWorks indicate that cyber criminals also reap profits by taking advantage of emerging social trends. The generation of Facebook and MySpace users, who frequently visit the social networking sites and informally e-mail on them, often do not verify the authenticity of incoming e-mails or links embedded in them. As a result, such users turn out to be the easy victims of ID theft and phishing scams.

With cyber crime becoming an even expansive business, its perpetrators are no longer limited to only young men with expertise in computers. According to Jackson, although cyber criminals are predominantly male, a lot of women are also entering the hacking trade.

A notable point about these male and female hackers is that they aren't of their own self as much as they are of their community. Internet scammers are also considering areas beyond online games such as exploiting vulnerabilities via routes that appear less suspicious, like the mobile phones.

A probable reason for the hacking boom is that it is encouraged when conducted to serve nationals interests, often political. It is therefore even socially acceptable in some regions.

Also, according to McAfee Avert Labs' Security Research and Communications Manager, Dave Marcus, today's hackers are more professional because there is money in the business.

Related article: Hackers Redirect Windows Live Search to Malicious Sites

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