Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

4/7/2008
02:57 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

New Crimeware-as-a-Service Market Thriving

Lets criminals get stolen information via a Web-based service that does the dirty work for them

SAN FRANCISCO -- RSA 2008 Conference -- First it was do-it-yourself malware and phishing toolkits, then it was specialized sites selling stolen FTP credentials and credit card accounts, and now it’s the next phase in cybercrime: crimeware as a service. (See Surge of Phishing Kits Hits the Net and Stolen FTP Credentials Offered for Sale: Major Firms at Risk.)

Researchers at Finjan, MarkMonitor, and Trend Micro are among those seeing a new cybercrime business model, where sophisticated cybercriminal organizations set up shop as service providers to other bad guys, offering them online, point and click criminal software as a service -- often with customer service guarantees. The trend is one of the key findings in Finjan’s new Web Security Trends Report for the first quarter of this year, which the company released today.

“We are starting to see more sites like this, where criminals are going another step forward and turn out to be a service, a cybercrime as a service,” says Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CTO at Finjan.

“With relatively less effort, they can get more money. Instead of collecting data and trying to sell it, which takes more time, they build a platform to do that, and can reach a wider audience that would like to commit these crimes,” he says. This lets other criminals who don’t want to install and update their own software or run their own malicious servers get their stolen information via a Web-based service that does the dirty work for them.

“This is another step forward for criminals to improve their market, the commercialization of stolen data,” he says.

The next step, Finjan predicts, is pure stolen data services, where criminals sign up for a custom feed of stolen data from a specific corporation or industry sector. This would be even more lucrative for the CaaS providers: “In 2008 and 2009, they are going to increase this simplified process,” Ben-Itzhak says.

John LaCour, director of anti-phishing solutions for MarkMonitor, says it’s a logical evolution. “MarkMonitor has seen a trend of sophisticated cybercriminals turning their resources toward ecrime as a service. The Rock Phish gang is just one example. This is a sign of cybercrime evolving into something more sophisticated."

Finjan sees the evolution of CaaS as the fourth phase in cybercrime commercialization, starting in 2005 with the bad guys trading personal data such as email addresses for spamming and other scams; vulnerability trading in 2006, with bad guys selling bugs to the highest bidders; and last year, with crimeware toolkits being sold. CaaS takes that a step further, with a software-as-a-service model. “They promote themselves on blogs” and other places, Ben-Itzhak says. “It looks like a real market -- they guarantee data or they will replace it."

The operators of these services typically operate in small groups of five to eight people in the U.S., Netherlands, Germany, Russia, and China, he says. “The servers are hosted in Asia -- in China and Malaysia."

Ben-Itzhak says the CaaS model actually makes it simpler to spot these criminal activities. But it makes law enforcement’s job even more challenging because of the layers of activities -- the CaaS operator isn’t always committing the crime with the stolen data, for instance -- and the difficulty in prosecuting bad guys overseas.

“The scammers and cybercriminals go where the money is, and when they can’t steal it outright, they will always continue to create clever ways to game the systems or subvert them to make money,” says Paul Ferguson, network architect for Trend Micro.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

  • Finjan Software Inc.
  • MarkMonitor
  • Trend Micro Inc.

    Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Video
    Cartoon Contest
    Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
    Latest Comment: Our Endpoint Protection system is a little outdated... 
    Current Issue
    The Year in Security: 2019
    This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
    Flash Poll
    Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
    Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
    Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    CVE-2019-2319
    PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
    HLOS could corrupt CPZ page table memory for S1 managed VMs in Snapdragon Auto, Snapdragon Compute, Snapdragon Connectivity, Snapdragon Consumer IOT, Snapdragon Industrial IOT, Snapdragon Mobile, Snapdragon Wired Infrastructure and Networking in MDM9205, QCS404, QCS605, SDA845, SDM670, SDM710, SDM84...
    CVE-2019-2320
    PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
    Possible out of bounds write in a MT SMS/SS scenario due to improper validation of array index in Snapdragon Auto, Snapdragon Compute, Snapdragon Consumer IOT, Snapdragon Industrial IOT, Snapdragon IoT, Snapdragon Mobile, Snapdragon Voice & Music, Snapdragon Wearables in APQ8009, APQ8017, APQ805...
    CVE-2019-2321
    PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
    Incorrect length used while validating the qsee log buffer sent from HLOS which could then lead to remap conflict in Snapdragon Auto, Snapdragon Compute, Snapdragon Connectivity, Snapdragon Consumer Electronics Connectivity, Snapdragon Consumer IOT, Snapdragon Industrial IOT, Snapdragon IoT, Snapdra...
    CVE-2019-2337
    PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
    While Skipping unknown IES, EMM is reading the buffer even if the no of bytes to read are more than message length which may cause device to shutdown in Snapdragon Auto, Snapdragon Compute, Snapdragon Consumer IOT, Snapdragon Industrial IOT, Snapdragon Mobile, Snapdragon Wearables in APQ8053, APQ809...
    CVE-2019-2338
    PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
    Crafted image that has a valid signature from a non-QC entity can be loaded which can read/write memory that belongs to the secure world in Snapdragon Auto, Snapdragon Compute, Snapdragon Connectivity, Snapdragon Consumer IOT, Snapdragon Industrial IOT, Snapdragon Mobile, Snapdragon Wired Infrastruc...