From the article (Sorry for it being kinda long):
U.S. intelligence officials are cautioning that popular Internet services that enable computer users to adopt cartoon-like personas in three-dimensional online spaces also are creating security vulnerabilities by opening novel ways for terrorists and criminals to move money, organize and conduct corporate espionage.Over the last few years, “virtual worlds” such as Second Life and other role-playing games have become home to millions of computer-generated personas known as avatars. By directing their avatars, people can take on alternate personalities, socialize, explore and earn and spend money across uncharted online landscapes.
Nascent economies have sprung to life in these 3-D worlds, complete with currency, banks and shopping malls. Corporations and government agencies have opened animated virtual offices, and a growing number of organizations hold meetings where avatars gather and converse in newly minted conference centers.
Intelligence officials who have examined these systems say they’re convinced that the qualities that many computer users find so attractive about virtual worlds — including anonymity, global access and the expanded ability to make financial transfers outside normal channels — have turned them into seedbeds for transnational threats.
“The virtual world is the next great frontier and in some respects is still very much a Wild West environment,” a recent paper by the government’s new Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity said.
“Unfortunately, what started out as a benign environment where people would congregate to share information or explore fantasy worlds is now offering the opportunity for religious/political extremists to recruit, rehearse, transfer money, and ultimately engage in information warfare or worse with impunity.”
The government’s growing concern seems likely to make virtual worlds the next battlefield in the struggle over the proper limits on the government’s quest to improve security through data collection and analysis and the surveillance of commercial computer systems.
Virtual worlds could also become an actual battlefield. The intelligence community has begun contemplating how to use Second Life and other such communities as platforms for cyber weapons that could be used against terrorists or enemies, intelligence officials said. One analyst suggested beginning tests with so-called teams of cyber warfare experts.
Well thats it just great, the U.S. intelligence must be a bunch of really paranoid people to think of something like this.
Do they actually believe that there are terrorists in every little nuck and cranny?
Pathetic, really pathetic…..