From the Wall Street Journal‘s “Phisher Tales: How Webs of Scammers Pull Off Internet Fraud“:
The typical phisher, he discovered, isn’t a movie-style villain but a Romanian teenager, albeit one who belongs to a social and economic infrastructure that is both remarkably sophisticated and utterly ragtag.
If, in the early days, phishing scams were one-person operations, they have since become so complicated that, just as with medicine or law, the labor has become specialized.
Phishers with different skills will trade with each other in IRC chat rooms, says Mr. Abad. Some might have access to computers around the world that have been hijacked, and can thus be used in connection with a phishing attack. Others might design realistic “scam pages,” which are the actual emails that phishers send. ..
One thing that’s different about phishers, he says, is how little they like to gab.
“Real hackers will engage in conversation,” he says. “With phishers, it’s a job.”