Sophos recently released their Security Threat Report 2010 outlining changes that they have observed over the years regarding threats in general, and how attackers have evolved. They would like to survey folks to see what you think is coming down the pipe. Hacking and virus writing began as hobbyist activities, often with the intention to show how smart the perpetrator was rather than to benefit financially. It was the time of Green Caterpillars munching the contents of your screen or letters cascading down your monitor like raindrops. Online crime was a nuisance, and although it could still cost your company money in terms of clean-up and recovery, it was typically designed with mischief and mindless vandalism in mind.
However, the threat has evolved into organised criminal activity, with the lure of huge amounts of money driving gangs to steal identities, create botnets, and advertise shady goods to the masses via spam for significant financial rewards. In the last few years we’ve begun to see something new. The money-grabbing online gangs haven’t been replaced, but there does appear to be more and more evidence that they have been joined by those who wish to use malware and the internet to gain commercial, political, economic and maybe even military advantage over rivals.