[ISN] Hackers join dark side

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Wed Aug 18 06:54:46 EDT 2004


By Nick Farrell
18 August 2004

SECURITY EXPERTS MessageLabs say that there is evidence that virus
writers are working hand in hand with spammers.

The move takes the virus writers away from their self-appointed roles
as champions of the small guy against corporatism and into the hands
of dark cyber capitalism.

According to a recent report, MessageLabs says it has established the
link by monitoring chat rooms to infiltrate the secretive world of
virus writers and spammers.

It claims to have seen messages flow between virus writers and spam
writers about joining forces. The spammers are faced with a
proliferation of software blocking spam and are keen to pay writers to
create viruses that attach to e-mails and circumvent the spam

"There is little or no monetary profit to be gained from simply
distributing viruses, but when you combine the capabilities of a virus
and the profit that can be earned from spam, suddenly you have an
altogether more materialistic proposition," MessageLabs said in its

However it represents a change in the profile of virus writers who
always saw themselves as counter-culture. The image of the teen hacker
nerd standing against the big corporates such as Microsoft is
enshrined in the movie industry and often a redeeming feature in court
cases when they are caught.

However with recent cases of cyber extortion, links to the Russian
Mafia, and now links to spammers, the hacker's image is turning from
annoying criminal with a small c, to outright evil money grabbers and
they are unlikely to ever get the same level of sympathy again. Still
that is the dark side for you.

More information about the ISN mailing list