Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Its going to get a lot worse before it gets better

There is an interesting mix of problems going on right now that, when combined, create a sort of "cybercrime" perfect storm. Historically, there is an obvious correlation between economic downturns and the rise in crime. What makes the modern downturn interesting is the ease with which cybercrime can be perpetrated. First, there is the growing and fluid blackmarket for financial data. One doesn't have to browse far to find reports of a rise in phising, drive-by web infections, and advances in bot-net technology. Insiders with access to financial information will find easy money. Large financial institutions are already experiencing a rise of internal investigations. Layoffs in the high technology sector are closely related to intellectual property theft - employees are very likely to download intellectual property that may help them secure a new job - its a simple backup plan that is easy for the human mind to justify. This isn't even that high-tech - it's as simple as USB thumbdrive and an unprotected port. Internationally, high tech workers are losing their jobs, and programmers out of work are willing to take malware development jobs for low pay. IT professionals out of work in Eastern Europe and Asia are already getting roped into the identity theft blackmarket, using toolkits to develop and deploy phising attacks. The endpoint systems within enterprises are frail and easy to attack with malware, they are already infected to a large degree. The virus scanning technology that is the leaning post of enterprise security just doesn't work. The massive investment in security solutions over the last decade hasn't helped at all - enterprises are just as vulnerable and exploited today as they were in the late 90s. I think its an obvious conclusion to be drawn, the malware problem is going to experience a surge over the next 24 to 36 months. Investigators are just now starting to understand that there IS a problem, much less combat it.