More trouble for less cash

Internet evildoers are changing their approach to become more cost-effective. According to Russian security specialist Kaspersky Lab, cyber criminals are increasingly concentrating on mailing spam containing Trojans and backdoors because this method is cheaper and easier than creating network worms.

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By  Matthew Wade Published  July 30, 2005

Internet evildoers are changing their approach to become more cost-effective. According to Russian security specialist Kaspersky Lab, cyber criminals are increasingly concentrating on mailing spam containing Trojans and backdoors because this method is cheaper and easier than creating network worms. This marks what Kaspersky claims is a “malware evolution” as criminals alter their tactics to improve their 'return on investment'. Kaspersky’s senior virus analyst, Yury Mashevsky, studied the changes in the number of malicious programs that have been added to the firm’s Anti-Virus database in the period from January 2003 through to May 2005. The results confirmed the hypothesis proposed earlier this year by Kaspersky’s team of analysts, namely that internet criminals are changing their methods to get more bang from their buck. “The rate at which VirWare (viruses and worms) and TrojWare (Trojans and spyware) programs were added to anti-virus databases indicates that cyber criminals are changing their tactics,” said Mashevsky. “Instead of organizing large-scale virus outbreaks, cyber criminals are mailing spam.” “This trend is due to economic expediency,” he added, suggesting that developing such programs is “incomparably cheaper and easier” than creating fully-fledged network worms, “while the same Trojan can be easily hidden from the watchful eye of anti-virus programs by using a multitude of different compression utilities.” Mashevsky’s full report, named ‘A Turning-Point in Malicious Program Development’, is published in the Analysis section of the Viruslist.com web site. Mashevsky’s article also illustrates the explosive growth in AdWare programs detected by Kaspersky and discusses the surge in the number of new malicious programs for platforms other than MS Windows (such as Symbian, UNIX and .NET).

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