In the past the greatest threats to the computing world were the highly skilled black hat hackers and their various coordinated groups. Not to downplay their reputation, they are still very real threats; however there has been a surge of neophyte hackers in the world. It has become profitable for the skilled and connected hackers to create tidy packages of malicious software and sell them to what are called “script kiddies,” which are essentially unskilled or want-to-be hackers that simply run targeted malicious ...view middle of the document...
Some of these packages have the ability to be custom tailored (called crimeware kits) towards its specific use such as the Zeus kit. This kit can be purchased at $700 and can also be found free in some circles. When these kits are widely distributed and reconfigured so many times in so many ways it creates seemingly infinite amount software which makes it extremely difficult for antivirus companies to keep up. Almost 90,000 different strains of the Zeus toolkit were discovered by Symantec during 2009.
“Variants of the Zeus kit use spam to lure users to a website that uses social engineering or that exploits a Web browser vulnerability to install the bot on a victim’s computer. the bot then allows remote access to the computer and can be used to steal information such as the user’s online banking credentials. Each bot can then be used to send additional spam runs to compromise new users.”
These kits have become such a lucrative business among cyber criminals that there are rival organizations that develop their software to interfere with other malicious software. The SpyEye kit not only steals information it has the ability to detect if a device already has Zeus installed and, if so, intercepts its’ communication.