A yet to be named developer has released a free software development kit for a new Trojan horse considered to be similar to the Zeus banking Trojan - prompting a warning from researchers at a German security firm.The Trojan is dubbed Ares, and is geared toward providing cyber-criminals a way to spread malware through infected Web sites (exactly more of what we don't need). From G Data security firm's announcement:
As Ares has so many potential variants, it can be used for almost any attack on any target. We believe one of the eventual uses will be to spread Trojans aimed at online banking users. Internet users need to protect themselves by making sure they have anti-malware solutions in place that monitor all HTTP traffic and can block dangerous websites before they are called up on work and personal computers."
With or without a new Trojan, users should be following that advice every day.
According to G Data, Ares is very familiar to the Zeus banking Trojan - which infected millions of users - in that its design is modular, and that means attackers can use the code in many different ways. I supposed it could also make it more difficult for anti-virus applications to quickly identify.
The Ares author, according to G Data, will be releasing an Ares software development kit soon:
Underlining the commerciality of modern malware, a software development kit for the Trojan is available for free to 'trustworthy developers' on condition that a license fee is paid to Ares' developer when modules are sold on to third parties. Other potential users can buy the development kit for up to US $6,000, although a 'starter pack' with reduced functionality can also be purchased for US $850. As is customary in the malware industry, payment is made via an anonymous online payment service - in this case WebMoney - so that neither the purchaser nor the vendor need reveal their true identity.
Hopefully Ares (named after the Greek god of war) won't live up to its name and fizzles. Regardless, attackers aren't sleeping, and neither are those engaged in the underground industry designed to support them.