Evidence of organised criminal computer hacking is finally beginning to hit the front pages. This week there have been no less than three major hack attacks of considerable significance to both the public and government.
Organised and determined criminal hackers are, in one sense, emerging as the newest and most glamorous representatives of the outlaw underworld, albeit in cyberspace. Even if hi-tech lawbreakers could be caught, they can console themselves with the fact that they will probably be treated like rock stars and idolised by computer junkies everywhere.
Ironically, perhaps, those who are particularly adept at reverse engineering, exploiting computer networks and programming and are not averse to the odd brush with the law can earn considerable riches through their criminal activities.
Biggest hacking fraud ever
eUniverse was hit by a hacker who claimed to have stolen more than 300,000 credit card numbers. He went public with this information, a move that not only promises to explode the myth that e-commerce transactions are safe, but blow the lid off many other hack attacks. The computer criminal involved is still on the run from authorities in the US.
Teen hacks 27 ISPs, gains root access
A cheeky teenage (reportedly) hacker from renowned group Global Hell pulls off a stunt of some magnitude by getting into 27 separate different Internet service providers in the US. One of these, Pacific Bell, was even forced to take the unusual step of asking customers to close down their accounts after the incident.
Virgin.net calls police over security breach
One of Britain's most popular ISPs was forced to take similarly drastic action after it discovered a breach of its online security. Virgin.net not only called the police but even mailed out individual letters of apology to customers after email and dial-up access was disrupted. Evidence is beginning to emerge of an investigation involving computer criminals in the unlikely setting of leafy Surrey.
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After going through this week's roundup, why not visit our Hackers News Special