RSA Europe: Emerging markets' IT talent turning to cybercrime

Trained IT talent from emerging markets may turn to or be forced into crime because of the economic downturn, experts at RSA Europe 2008 have warned.

Microsoft's chief strategist Ed Gibson and Fujitsu's head of information security Iain Andrews both said that many people trained in IT from countries in the emerging markets would either be led into cybercrime from lack of jobs, or because they were trapped into it by unscrupulous underground criminal gangs.

Andrews said that did not believe that growth could be sustained in the emerging markets under the current economic conditions, and that there would also be a decrease in the amount of highly trained IT staff graduates employed due to offshoring from Western countries. This means that they more likely to be active in criminal activity.

Andrews said of the prospects of future IT graduates: "The likelihood of criminal activity for both organised and disorganised crime is becoming more of a threat than it did before."

Ed Gibson was more forthright about emerging countries which sometimes suffered from endemic corruption, but had young people who were trying to make a better life for them and were highly trained in technology.

He said of the young people: "They can't find work and are worried about finding groceries to live tomorrow. Sometimes they find themselves in situations where they've been asked to work for somebody and didn't know it was organised crime.

"They try to get out, but they are not going to. Their family could be harmed," he added.

Gibson indicated that this was challenge law enforcement, businesses and vendors had now with serious organised crime.

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