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Malware-for-Sale Racketeers Busted by Security Companies


 

Malware-for-Sale Racketeers Busted by Security Companies

Panda Software and RSA Security have recently neutralized several sites offering modified a version of the Briz.A Trojan for information thieves.

The business was, unfortunately, simple and profitable. For the basic version of the bug, a "customer" had to pay 990 USD, but to get an additional module that would make the Trojan more effective; a hacker had to perform some "tasks" like hacking servers and providing the "owners" of this Trojan with stolen data. Criminals gathered hundreds of user names and gigabytes of confidential data like passwords for banks, hotels, airlines or international betting and gambling services.

In the olden days, most hackers who created viruses did it for the fame and the bragging rights that came with creating a truly notorious bug. While their efforts are sure to go down in computer history as a disruptive force, it can't be honestly compared to the malware industry that exists today. While the hackers of yesteryear were vying for fame and name recognition, today, it is the money that counts. Discovering and exploiting security breaches in software like anti-virus programs and web browsers, not to mention operating systems, are nothing more than a way of making money - illegal, but relatively safe.

Both firms responsible for finding and shutting down the malignant servers provided the results of their investigation to the authorities in Russia and other countries in Eastern Europe in order to prosecute the websites' owners. However, until today, there have been no arrests in this case and probably most of the servers cracked by Panda Software and RSA Security were replaced with new ones.

Trojans are nasty bugs because they allow someone to essentially take control of your computer without you even knowing it. The usual pattern consists of a hacker taking control of your computer and looking for files that might contain personal information or things like account numbers or passwords for important sites like your bank, stock broker or similar sites. Then once all of the useful information has been mined from your PC, the hacker will sometimes flood your system with dozens of additional bugs that end up rendering your computer as nothing more than an expensive paperweight. This is why these bugs are so nasty and its why you need to take care of them the moment you realize you have one.

The difficult procedures and lack of manpower in law enforcement organizations make malware business flourish across the world, especially in those countries that still do not consider cyber-crimes as a real threat. It is the hope of computer users everywhere that these governments will begin to recognize the threat that these Internet bugs do to computers all over the world, both personal and business. There are millions of man-hours lost every year thanks to bugs that are created for the purpose of defrauding you of your privacy, personal information and your peace of mind. The sooner the worldwide law enforcement community takes these threats seriously, the sooner we can make the Internet a safer place for everyone.



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