So why are there so many more hackers this year than last? Joe Stewart, a senior security researcher at SecureWorks, told InformationWeek that highly technical and savvy hackers are no longer the only ones in the game.
Hackers no longer need to be technical wizards to set up an operation to steal people's banking information and then rob their accounts or sell their identifying information to an even bigger cybercriminal. Hacking toolkits and malware are for sale in the online underground. All hackers need are basic technical skills and the knowledge of where to go to buy what they can't build themselves.
"You go to a Web site and pay a $100 to several hundred dollars, and you can buy a turnkey exploit package," said Stewart. "You can buy the malware too, and then you're in business You put these components up on a Web site and immediately start infecting people. All you really need to know how to do at this point is set up a Web site."
This new ease-of-use is evident in the numbers.
SecureWorks reported that between June 2006 and December 2006, they blocked attacks from about 808 hackers per bank per month. From the beginning of this year through June, there's been an average of 1,462 hackers launching attacks at each of the company's bank clients. As for the credit unions, SecureWorks reported blocking attacks from 1,110 hackers per credit union per month. That number rose to 1,799 this year.