Who Wants Your Credit Card Number?

PBS.org has an interesting interview with Richard Power on their web site where he talks about some of the bad guys in the world of computer security. In the following quote, he mentions rise of organized crime on the Internet.

"I think we have to take organized crime much more seriously than we do hackers. Organized crime goes where the money is, and the money is moving to the internet. And if you can go on the internet and steal people's credit card numbers, and steal identities, and steal phone numbers, and steal products and money and possibly sell faulty goods, organized crime will move to that. They're going to move to it as long as it's profitable. And organized crime is likely to be better funded, better skilled and better organized than lone criminals, than hackers are. . . . I think organized crime is a big worry, and I think it's going to get worse, as criminals realize that there's money to be made on the internet. . . ."

Another article on TechNewsWorld.com talks about the growing connection between organized crime and computer viruses:

"Internet security experts are divided on the source and purpose of computer viruses and worms like Blaster and SoBig. But some government agencies are investigating a possible connection between the increasing spread of infected computers and organized crime. . .

. . .The SoBig.E and SoBig.F worms were created to open back-door access to infected computers. Those worms and others can update themselves and contact predetermined servers to acquire new instructions. . .

. . .The researchers found that criminals have developed highly sophisticated mechanisms for distributing stolen credit card information 'through specialized IRC channels and related Web sites.'"

When you find spyware/malware on your computer it should be taken seriously. I know one person who had her bank account emptied after making just one online transaction — an accommodation booking while traveling. It is impossible to know exactly how it happened, but the computer that she used was infected with malware and she had not used that bank card for anything else.