The Internet is a-changing...

Interesting to read a report from Paul Barford, assistant professor with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Computer Sciences, who reckons that the bad guys are one step ahead of the good guys on the Internet.

The problem, he says, is that the fun-seeking hackers that did their damage for simple notoriety have been joined by a more sophisticated class of cyber criminals.

"It is very clearly the case now that there are people who are making a lot of money by malicious activity, that organised crime is getting involved in malicious activity," he said.

"This represents a very, very serious development from the standpoint that it also means that the bad guys are getting much more organised and focused in their activities," he added.

According to Barford, the ease and speed in which a server can be exploited requires firms to harden their entire networks.

As the director of the appropriately (very -Ed) Wisconsin Advanced Internet Laboratory (WAIL), Barford is heading up a research group whose main aim is to develop an enhanced Internet that can defend itself.

To this end, WAIL is involved in DOMINO (Distributed Overlay for Monitoring InterNet Outbreaks) and GENI (the Global Environment for Network Innovations project.

The GENI project, which has secured funding of $350 million over the next decade, is compiling data on Internet attacks, with the specific aim of creating anti-attack technology.

Barford is slightly critical of the anti-virus vendors community, however, as he says that the vast majority of IT security software does not communicate easily with other IT security applications.

Which makes the task of protecting a PC, let alone the Internet, that much harder...