Spam, virus writing may come under mafia control

Will the recent introduction of antispam legislation result in the creation of a "spam underworld"?

Will the recent introduction of antispam legislation result in the creation of a "spam underworld"? Eugene Kaspersky, cofounder of Kaspersky Lab and head of its antivirus research thinks so. While people in the United States generally associate the word "mafia" with Godfather and Soprano style gangsters, Kaspersky used the words "organized crime" with no reference to any specific gangs, but as a general term. However, the Russian researcher fears that modern Internet criminals may fall under control of traditional organized crime or worse yet, become organized into a new style of mafia -- virus writers and hackers who work for spammers to provide illegal proxy-servers.

But Stephen Cobb, Senior VP of Research & Education at ePolicy, argues that "by definition, people who work together to send spam that violates provisions of either the recently passed federal CAN SPAM Act or the many state antispam laws, or the Federal Trade Commission Act (which outlaws deceptive business practices in general) constitutes organized crime."

However, whether or not the people that the general public views as the "mafia" are adding spam and other unpleasant Internet activities to their portfolio of crime isn't clear at this point. But Cobb thinks it would make perfect sense for them because spamming remains, despite antispam laws and lawsuits, a relative low risk activity with plenty of upside in terms of profit.

Kaspersky's predictions aren't a short-term forecast that can be confirmed with facts and figures, but a long-term prediction, which may happen in 5-10 years. He believes it too difficult and too inaccurate at this point to speculate about who's going to control cybercriminals.

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