A major global malware epidemic is putting greater wealth into the hands of criminals than ever before, according to new research from security software vendor PC Tools.
The company's Malware Research Center has witnessed disturbing trends such as blended attacks, a proliferation of 'toxic' root-kits and a 120 percent increase in new crime-based threats.
Michael Greene, vice president of product strategy at PC Tools, said: " Cyber-thieves are making as much money as drug dealers, according to a recent global identity theft report.
"Given the huge rise in identity theft this year, it would be safe to assume that cyber-thieves are now earning as much as a small country."
Greene believes that the world is facing one of the most significant internet security battles ever.
"Everyone is vulnerable, from those using social networking sites, to individuals filing online tax returns. Security vendors which do not revise their internet security technology will be ineffective," he said.
Greene warned that the blending of virus and spyware attacks is making malware more complex, and that personal information is increasingly the target.
PC Tools has identified an alarming number of metamorphosing Trojans, where basic threat signatures are constantly changing to confound anti-malware scanners.
The company has also seen a proliferation of root-kits that remain in stealth mode for weeks or even months before unleashing dangerous attacks.
Cyber-thieves 'richer than drug dealers'
By Clement James on May 9, 2007 5:05PM