Re: [ISN] Why Worm Writers Stay Free

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Fri Dec 28 2001 - 20:16:42 PST

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    Forwarded from: Robert G. Ferrell <rferrellat_private>
    At 01:17 AM 12/28/01 -0600, you wrote:
    > "Cyber criminals are like idiot Hansel and Gretels, scattering
    > electronic breadcrumbs that lead straight to them," said retired
    > New York City detective Pete Angonasta. "You just don't see this
    > sort of behavior in other criminals. I've never seen a burglar
    > leaving cute notes crediting the crime to himself. And I've never
    > run across a burglar who puts up a self-promotional website or
    > goes into a chat room to discuss the night's activities."
    There's nothing odd about this discrepancy, at least from a criminal
    psychology point of view.  Burglars are motivated primarily by a
    desire to gain material wealth, either directly by stealing negotiable
    currency or indirectly by fencing their stolen goods.  They don't need
    to brag about their crimes in order to profit by them.
    Virus writers, on the other hand, seldom see any profit from their
    actions other than reports in the media of the effect of their
    efforts.  Except in the exceedingly rare case of someone who creates a
    virus for the express purpose of extorting corporations or governments
    for material gain, virus creators are usually psychologically (and
    often physically) adolescent, socially inept individuals who get an
    enormous adrenalin rush and self-importance boost from releasing
    malicious code and watching it wreak havoc.  It is hardly surprising
    that such individuals are prone to bragging about their
    accomplishments in chat rooms.  They're not professional criminals,
    but rather naughty school kids. What's the point of bringing the
    Internet to its knees (in their inflated world view) when no one knows
    you did it?  Remember that these sorts of actions are often associated
    with an attempt to gain acceptance into or increase one's status
    within what is often called the 'electronic underground.' Bragging is
    pretty much de rigeur for this environment.
    Robert G. Ferrell
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