According to internet security firm McAfee, cybercriminal organisations are targeting computer students to hire them to commit crimes.

The report says that criminals are actively recruiting students that they find through universities, computer clubs, and forums. The gangs even go so far as to put students through computer courses before sending them off to businesses to spy on company secrets.

The students are capable of writing computer viruses, carrying out phishing scams, and even laundering money.

According to MacAfee, the cybercrime industry is worth more than the drugs trade. Many hackers are found in Eastern Europe, where it allows IT specialists to put food on the table for their families, in the face of high unemployment and low wages.

Social networking sites are a goldmine of information for the cybercriminals to find out personal details so that they can mount better phishing scams, which get people to reveal data like credit card numbers and passwords.

McAfee also reports that “Corporate espionage is big business”.