Along with social engineering scams (i.e. emails phishing for user information or passwords), company formation and business solutions consultants are concerned that the worldwide interconnectivity of computers and devices has likewise brought about ever-increasing threats. Viruses used to travel by diskette—slowly infecting computers one by one. But now, malicious software run freely through the Internet, infecting every other unprotected system it can touch. In the first few weeks of 2006 alone, more than 40 Windows viruses were detected, and more are expected to come.
While in the past, virus attacks were perpetrated for fame and bragging rights, today’s malware are made for profit. The worms, Trojan horses, and rootkits (forms of malware) of today are created by criminal masterminds with the intent of earning money.
For instance, malware can be used to control individual computers to act as spam-bots, or systems that churn out millions and millions of unsolicited commercial emails per day. These, in turn, arrive at unsuspecting individuals’ inboxes, disguising as “sexual enhancement” or weight loss pills, or hair-loss prevention creams. But in reality, most are fake drugs.
The perpetrators of the crime earn through the sales of fake goods, and some malware authors also sell user information (sometimes including private details) to spammers and illegal telemarketers.