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Cyber-crooks in price war for malware

Wednesday, July 23 10:17:43

It's getting easier and cheaper for cyber-crooks to access dangerous malware with gangs of cyber criminals now in a price-war to sell infected computer details to other criminals.

It used to be the case that these gangs would infect millions of computers around the globe with their own custom malware. They will then sell the infected user's details to other criminals who want to extort financial details from the infected computers.

Criminals are now able to buy access to compromised Irish computers for as little as 10 cents per computer. In an update issued to its customers, Irish IT security firm Smarttech.ie reported that a price war has broken out amongst cyber criminals. In the USA, this has resulted in the cost of a hacked computer falling by nearly 50pc since the start of 2014.

Ronan Murphy, CEO of Irish IT security firm Smarttech.ie has warned "For the criminal gangs around the world who want to launch a cyber-attack, it is a buyers' market. Initially they may not have had the skills to build and deploy the malware services themselves but with this new user friendly model they can buy it off the shelf. Also the appetite for this service is huge and competition has seen prices fall by 50pc since the start of the year. In the USA, cyber criminals will now sell a list of 10,000 computers that have been deliberately infected with a customised virus, for only $1,000 in total or $0.10 per computer. We see evidence on a daily basis of Irish customers who have also fallen prey to these global botnets."

In the new Malware as a Service (MaaS) industry, cyber criminals are able to access the same kind of professional services that are normally associated with the legitimate Software as a Service industry.

The scale of the cybercrime operations and the number of new entrants in the MaaS market has resulted in "Malware" as an industry going mainstream, with cyber criminals offering extremely high levels of "customer care".

Ronan Murphy said that "The MaaS market is a scary prospect because it allows non technical criminals to branch out into an area where they have no experience. Criminals are able to access all the professional customer care services like 24 hours web chat, quality assurance and all the other necessary support services. For criminals, they are able to order customised viruses which are geo-specific making Irish owned computers a legitimate target for cyber criminals."

For more visit: www.businessworld.ie