Monday, 10 March 2008

Background to computer crime

I am currently working on a feature for Computer Shopper, exploring the black economy that lies behind computer viruses, spam and other online threats. It will appear in the July 2008 issue (#245), which will be on sale from 15th May 2008. Please don't ask why the cover and on-sale dates are so far apart - it's a long and boring story.

It just so happens that this article coincides with the unveiling of an art project by UK security firm MessageLabs. The company set out to create visual representations of virus code, spam and phishing emails with the help of Romanian visual artist Alex Dragulescu. The aim was to give a face to something that is rather hard to imagine as a physical object. It's actually pretty interesting to compare how the threats look to how they behave. MessageLabs' experts delivered an interesting talk about this, also explaining how bad guys make money by operating online threats.

I wrote a short note about this project a couple of months ago.

The Associated Press (AP) has created a short piece of video coverage for the exhibition and asked me to talk about some of the reasons why these threats exist. You can view the video by clicking below...


Note: Despite the caption, I am not 'Editor' of Computer Shopper. That honour belongs to David Ludlow.