The July 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

Crimeware Pays

Adware, phishing, and spam are a strange--and big--business

3 min read

As recently as five years ago, online crime--malware, Trojan horses, phishing--was still a kid's game, dominated by grandstanding cliques of hackers. But today, according to new industry studies, ”crimeware” has become an emerging worldwide business. Often based in former Soviet bloc countries like Russia and Romania, where Internet access is high but policing low, burgeoning syndicates regularly launch attacks on users around the world. The first comprehensive analysis of crimeware business models finds a multitude of ways to make money. Of them, phishing is the fastest-growing sector, but adware is the steady moneymaker.

Adware is code secretly installed by a Web site that generates pay-per-click advertising on a user's computer. As frustrated users try to click their way out of a sudden flurry of pop-up ads, each ad's owner must send money to the adware supplier. (Generally, the advertiser is unaware that malicious adware is involved.)

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

The Future of Deep Learning Is Photonic

Computing with light could slash the energy needs of neural networks

10 min read
Image of a computer rendering.

This computer rendering depicts the pattern on a photonic chip that the author and his colleagues have devised for performing neural-network calculations using light.

Alexander Sludds
DarkBlue1

Think of the many tasks to which computers are being applied that in the not-so-distant past required human intuition. Computers routinely identify objects in images, transcribe speech, translate between languages, diagnose medical conditions, play complex games, and drive cars.

The technique that has empowered these stunning developments is called deep learning, a term that refers to mathematical models known as artificial neural networks. Deep learning is a subfield of machine learning, a branch of computer science based on fitting complex models to data.

Keep Reading ↓Show less