Hacking for dollars
Source: CNET News - Posted by Pax Dickinson   
Security In the past, lone hackers defaced Web sites or launched global worm attacks, mainly to gain notoriety among their peers.

Today, they use their skills for profit. They hunt for security flaws and find ways to exploit them, hijack computers and rent those out for use as spam relays, or participate in targeted attacks that steal sensitive information from individuals or spy on businesses.

"In the last year, we have seen a dramatic shift to hacking for financial gain," said Oliver Friedrichs, a senior manager at Symantec Security Response. "The benefit of creating a widespread worm on the Internet has really been superseded by the potential of monetary gain."

Though the shift could mean the end of big worms like last year's Sasser, it still spells trouble. The targeted attacks crafted by businesslike hackers can hit individuals and organizations harder--and in the pocket, rather than just in the PC.

There is an underground market. A hacker who finds a way to exploit a security hole in Windows could earn up to $1,000, or much more if the hole is not yet known to Microsoft or anyone else, said Dmitri Alperovitch, a research engineer at security vendor CipherTrust.

Read this full article at CNET News

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