Are there any groups of virus developers around anymore? Like 29A group and bunch of other groups few years ago. They never released their codes, never used then to steal data etc.
Short answer: probably.
Probably, but these aren't the guys making the money or pushing the limits of the field. Malware has become an extremely commercial business, partly because so many activities in our lives are now controlled by or performed on computers. Social networking and online business have made the internet a haven of personal information and criminal potential. It's known that more successful malware campaigns can raise millions per year for an operator, and the cleanup operations and cost to consumers in the US alone exceeds $2.3bn per year.
Just a few things malware usually involves:
- Capturing financial information (e.g. credit card numbers) for fraud or sale.
- Capturing personal information (name, address, etc.) for sale.
- Sending spam messages via email or social media.
- Hosting phishing sites.
- Spam popups.
- DDoS attacks.
- Clickjacking / Cost-per-click advertising fraud.
- Scareware ("your computer is INFECTED! click here to remove for $20")
All of the above can either be used to make money, or prevent competitors from making money. The trick, in every case, is to keep the malware on the system undetected as long as possible. Once a user notices something is wrong, they'll take steps to find and remove the infection. As such, the malware writers try to be as sneaky and silent as possible.
Corporate and government sponsored malware is also on the rise. The Stuxnet worm (and Flame) are thought to have been written, or heavily funded by, a government agency. There's a good chance that there are a team of malware writers working for your government. They get paid to produce malware that hinders their economic and political opponents.
So, the conclusion is that even if these groups do still exist, which I'm sure they probably do in some small form or another, they're not doing anything particularly interesting. The real work is being done buy the guys that get paid to do it, either by themselves, or by governments and unscrupulous companies.