Experts agree: 2004 was the best of times and the worst of times for those concerned about security. It was a year with high-profile arrests of virus authors, and the explosion of online crimes, from cyber-extortion to identity theft, a year in which ISPs won millions in damages from spammers, and spam messages increased by 40 percent.
In hindsight, 2004 may be looked back upon as the year that a long tradition of hobbyist hackers and flashy, but harmless, viruses gave way to shadowy, professional online crime syndicates. The professionals were armed with virulent new threats designed to separate Internet users from their cash, according to interviews with leading security experts.
With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the most important technology security stories and trends of the last year:….