It used to be 80% of “working hackers” were freelancers, according to Juniper Networks. Now a study by RAND inidcates the numbers have flipped — 80% of hackers work with organized crime groups, and only 20% are independent.
RAND also observed something else. (By the way, RAND is a research firm famous for all kinds of US defense related stuff, particularly in the Cold War — it was a RAND scientist with ideas of a “winnable” nuclear war that inspired Dr. Strangelove. And, it was while working at RAND that Daniel Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers.)
RAND’s researchers believe the attack/defense balance will tip heavily in favor of the attackers if the Internet penetrates much further into daily life. The Internet of Things, in particular, is expected to be a boon for the hacker mafia.