Thursday, April 9, 2009
Inside a Zeus Crimeware Developer's To-Do List
Every then and now I get asked a similar question in regard to crimeware kits - which is the latest version of a particular crimeware/web malware exploitation kit?
The short answer is - I don't know. And I don't know not because I'm a victim of an outdated situational awareness, but due to the fact that nowadays third-party developers are so actively tweaking it that coming up with a version number would be inaccurate from my perspective. Therefore, whenever I provide such a version number, I try to emphasize and provide practical examples of how the current decentralization of coding from the core authors to third-party developers and, of course, scammers brand jacking the Zeus brand, is making the answer a little bit more complex than it may seem at the first place.
For instance, cybercriminals themselves have been capitalizing on this situation during the last two quarters, by speculating with the version numbers and offering backdoored copies of non-existent Zeus releases, in a attempt to hijack their Zeus botnets at a later stage -- a practice that phishers have been taking advantage of for a while. Anyway, once I'm able to sort of cluster a particular third-party developer's persistence in tweaking the Zeus crimeware kit, an interesting picture emerges. For instance, a team member from a third-party developer of backend systems for botnets that came up with the built-in MP3 player in a Zeus release, is also directly involved in developing the backend system and GUI for the Chimera botnet which the British Broadcasting Corporation purchased last month.