This post is an update of sorts for an article I wrote for Bill Mullins’ Tech Thoughts blog on June 2, 2010. I recently came across an article in ComputerWorld that covered the open sales, marketing and support of malware in China. It’s a perfect example of several of the points of my June article that 1. China is by far the leader in the generation of malware; 2. China has some major cyber organized-crime mobs; and 3. These cyber crime groups are becoming more and more business-like in their law-breaking efforts.According to the CW article, the Chinese organizations are openly selling malware products on the Internet with apparently no fear of being arrested. They have “commercialized” this crime to the extent they have adopted several best practices from the software industry. For example, they offer powerful malware which has been made very user-friendly and easy to use; these packages are configurable with menus of options for what they want the malware to do. For example “…whether they want it to steal data, capture screens, log keystrokes, remotely control a system or undertake any other task.” Another best practice they’ve implemented is to offer 24/7 technical support for the malware, much like any legitimate software manufacturer would do.
As stated in my June article, this commercially available malware is going to drastically increase the number of threats we have to deal with on the Internet. This is a rather dreadful outlook. However, if I had to find a bit of positive in all this; it’s that the proliferation of these malware “packages”, which will be by default standardized products, may allow our information security providers to identify a set of signatures or attributes peculiar to these “products” which will allow us to detect and prevent these attacks. Only time will tell. My advice: Ladies and gentlemen: please fasten your seat belts, keep your arms and legs inside the car…and enjoy the ride.
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