Cyber crime is on the rise and 2012 is already turning out to be a year for a major increase in malicious attacks. According to a recent article on MSMBC Technology ( prominent hacks are taking place nearly every week.

The area of Internet piracy and credit card fraud are booming as more and more attacks are taking place, gathering personal and financial information from individuals, government computers and private companies each day. The exact risks are still unclear for every day Internet users. No one has been able to pin point exactly why cyber crime is on the rise. A recent Norton study noted that cyber crime cost the global economy $388 billion in 2011 –in both direct damage and in lost productivity time. This number is significantly higher than the global black market for marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined. Some say the rise in cyber crime is due to the economy putting programmers out of work and turning them rogue while others say that it is the combination of computer availability combined with areas where job prospects are low. It is also believed that it’s simply that the number of attacks have democratized cybercrime.

Here’s a quote directly from the article: “DDoS attacks — and their first cousins, botnets — are one of the biggest culprits. Most DDoS attacks are amazingly simplistic; they are denial-of-service attacks frequently made via software that requires no programming or IT knowledge. Botnets are impromptu networks of Internet-connected computers turned rogue via malware. Once a computer is compromised, they can be used for everything from financial fraud to knocking websites offline.”

The newest idea of “hactivism” is growing globally as organizations breach information and expose protected data in attacks such as the 2010 WikiLeaks revenge attacks. An example of this hactivism can be seen in the acts of the organization that call themselves Anonymous. It is believed that those sorts of attacks will encourage more actors to enter the scene and vicious cycles of malicious activity will grow.

As we get deeper into 2012, it is becoming more and more apparent that we are in a time period that will go down in record books as one of the most active periods of cyber-attacks in the history of information security. We are entering a time of cyberwarfare.