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 Wednesday, September 12, 2007

John E. Dunn reports on Techworld how the global market for criminal malware operates like a supermarket, complete with special offers and volume discounts, as a security company has discovered. On Panda Software’s latest quarterly report, the going rate for a reasonably sophisticated but generic Trojan is between £175 ($350) and £350 ($700), while the email list with which to target victims for the program costs from £50 ($100) per million names. The malware writers even offer specials – in one case the company discovered a site selling a ‘payment capture’ Trojan for £200 ($400) to the first 100 customers to sign up, a saving of £50 ($100) off the normal rate. "In recent months we have witnessed the growing professionalisation of digital crime," said Panda Software’s lab chief Luis Corrons. "The first step for cyber-crooks was when they started looking for profits from their activity instead of just notoriety. Now they are creating a vast online malware market, where there are even specialised segments. New business models are appearing, as we speak," he said.

Corrons adds that the malware industry now appears to be turning from being just a shop from which malware can be bought, to one where services are offered. For between one and five dollars per executable, malware could be cloaked - encrypted - against the anti-virus software programs it was likely to encounter on a for-hire basis. Finally, criminals could rent spam servers for £250 a time to distribute their assembled malware package, the company said. Corrons also provides details of the cost of hiring DDoS attacks in his blog.

Read the full article here.