Malware (or crimeware) as a service, has been around for a couple of years; see Internet Security: The Crimeware Explosion. And is one of the main reasons cybercrime is spreading rapidly. However, there’s a new twist to the service.
A recent Help Net Security.com article reports that there’s a new malware-as-a-service Internet website that sells the service of “victim management” defined as letting “the attacker spy on the victims with actions like screen capturing, keylogging, password stealing, command execution and remote access and controlling.” This malware functionality isn’t new…what is new is targeting specific victim’s computers. Traditional malware operates using botnets of computers attacked in bulk, so to speak, not targeting individual computers.
If the admittedly sketchy Help Net Security article is right about this new twist, I foresee the potential for personal attacks against computers and bank accounts. These attacks might be levied to punish someone disliked, rob someone known to have a large amount of funds (like a lottery winner), or even to extort money in lieu of a more damaging attack. It also seems plausible that this form of cybercrime might be used as a first step for those new to cybercrime and a stepping stone to large scale theft using rented botnets and crimeware, after gaining some experience.
Whatever the case, this new approach does not bode well for Internet users because it will encourage new cybercriminals, not necessarily a member of a crime organization, acting on their own to begin using malware and crimeware to get rich. The potential numbers of cybercriminals will increase exponentially as will the level of cybercrime in general. Let’s hope I’m wrong about this…but I don’t think I am.
As always, I appreciate your comments on this subject…so please do. And be careful out there…it’s extremely dangerous these days.
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