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.)

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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