2005: The Coming Threat
If it's true that money is the root of all evil, 2005's forecast is devilish.
''Organized crime will definitely be a factor in 2005,'' Sundermeier says. ''If you know that you can turn a quick buck by gathering Gram and Pa's email address and information, why not continue on the same path?''
Analysts concur that phishers will continue to team up with spammers and virus writers next year, and their work will mature even more.
''There will be an evolution in the content and in the way that a message is sent so it evades filters and fools recipients,'' says Andrew Lochart, director of product marketing at Postini, an email security and management solutions company out of Redwood City, Calif. ''This can be a lucrative business. It is a temptation for certain people to keep on trying.''
The coming year will not see the end of this type of organized crime.
''Over the next four or five years, organized crime is going to become more rampant on the Internet,'' Fleming says. ''It is already huge, and virus writers will continue to be paid.''
With big cash prizes behind every virus, analysts warn that anti-virus programs may reach their limits, and that the window between when a system's vulnerability is exposed and when a virus is implemented will reduce dramatically. The zero-day exploit is coming into play.
Analysts warn all IT managers and users alike that the only way to combat these money-driven threats in 2005 is with increased awareness and proactive approaches.
What analysts are calling for is increased awareness and proactive responses.
And part of this proactive response, analysts say, is a change in the manner of prosecution for these crimes. There are great barriers to related legislation and law enforcement, since the offenders are spread from state to state, and around the globe.
''Courts are getting smarter in how to legislate Internet crimes,'' Fleming says. ''Because now it is a global problem so who's law applies? [The courts] are slowing trying to take into account the cultural, legal and fundamental differences.''
The only way to effectively fight the threats of 2005 is to be aware and aggressive, analysts say.
''You have to be expecting you will be attacked,'' Fleming says. ''You must learn to be Internet-wise.''