According to a new report from computer security firm McAfee, gangs of criminals are recruiting college students to do the dirty work of cybercrimes.

In an annual report, McAfee compared the gangs' tactics to those of agents working for the USSR during the Cold War, saying that recruiters scan computer clubs and other online venues looking for individuals with strong aptitude for technology.

Those people, many of them undergraduates, are brought in to the criminal gang, where they write viruses, commit identity theft, and launder money.

McAfee said the growing business of cybercrime is more lucrative than illegal drugs. "Although organized criminals may have less of the expertise and access needed to commit cybercrimes," said the report, "they have the funds to buy the necessary people to do it for them."

The report is based in part on information from the FBI and European intelligence agencies, according to McAfee.

ZDNet, 8 December 2006