Years ago it was hackers who were doing it for the bragging rights, now it’s criminals. The motivation has changed, hacking is now profitable and there’s so much money to be made with very little risk to the actual hackers.
Interestingly enough IRC (Internet Relay Chat) is still being utilized to start attacks and for communications amongst the bad guys. There are more secure means of communications available but they are still using IRC. They are not worried about being caught they are blatantly doing these things out in the open. Though the good ones are communicating less which makes it harder to track them. Their focus has shifted to make money in which case they naturally don’t want to make a name for themselves, so there’s less bragging involved, less communication.
Over the past year or two we have seen a tremendous amount of acceleration of adaptability on the part of the hackers, the minute there’s a new security tool out there, the bad guys find a way around it. Spam is a good example, nobody has been able to stop it. Recently you see spam that comes in form of distorted or disguised images, so it’s even harder to filter it. It’s amazing how fast the bad guys are staying ahead of us.