Security vendor says most viruses are written by criminal gangs

‘Hobbyist’ malware writers decrease

Malware is now usually created by organised criminal gangs, rather than ‘hobbyist’ writers, a security software executive has said.

Paul Brook, ESET’s chief executive officer for the UK, told PCR: “Where there used to be hobbyist virus authors writing proof-of-concept malware that might or might not get out into the wild (and more often than not wasn’t intended to do more than replicate), there are organised gangs using samurai (hackers-for-hire) and malware coders who may be freelancers, but are mostly in it for the money.”

Brook added that the malware being written these days tends to have a solid commercial value.

“Banking trojans and password stealers for phishing and other direct financial fraud, agent software that enables the sale or rent of botnet services for purposes such as Distributed Denial of Service attacks (DDOS), click fraud, and various forms of spam and fake security programs which also have a fraudulent agenda,” he said.

The ESET exec added that the hobbyists still operating in the malware sphere tended to write proof-of-concept code for newer platforms such as smartphones.

Apple users recently reported the first iPhone worm, Ikee, which did not seem to have any adverse effects on the device apart from changing the background wallpaper to an image of 1980s popstar Rick Astley, with the message: “ikee is never going to give you up”.

Click here to read our full interview with ESET.

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