By Kevin Poulsen, SecurityFocus Feb 17 2005 8:07PM
SAN FRANCISCO--Computer intruders are learning to play well with others, and that's bad news for the Internet, according to a panel of law enforcement officials and legal experts speaking at the RSA Conference here Thursday.
Christopher Painter, deputy director of the Justice Department's computer crime section, spoke almost nostalgically of the days when hackers acted "primarily out of intellectual curiosity." Today, he says, cyber outlaws and serious fraud artists are increasingly working in concert, or are one and the same. "What we've seen recently is a coming together of these two groups," said Painter.
Ronald Plesco, counsel to the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance, a computer forensics organization established by the FBI and private industry, agreed, and pointed to the trend in recent years of spammers building networks of compromised computers to launder their fraudulent e-mail offerings. Tim Rosenberg, a research professor at the George Washington University, warned of "multinational groups of hackers backed by organized crime" and showing the sophistication of prohibition-era mobsters.