Spyware, scareware and pharmaceutical spam have been the biggest moneymakers of the year for cybercriminals, the report finds. These tried-and-true methods will continue to remain prevalent because they are inexpensive for criminals to produce and yield a positive return on investment, Scott Olechowski, threat research manager, Cisco told SCMagazineUS.com on Tuesday.Cisco's report also identified baking trojans, such as the notorious Zeus trojan, along with web exploits, as the top “rising stars” in the cybercriminal arsenal.
As a result, the best black-hat engineers are focusing their efforts on banking trojans, he said. This is evident in the sophistication of such threats, and the fact that the trojan's code is written to evade anti-virus protections.
Banking sites, meanwhile, are being forced to respond with defenses of their own, Olechowski said. Some have implemented multifactor authentication, only accept transactions from known IP addresses and use machine fingerprinting technologies, which confirm the right machine and user are performing the intended action.“We have seen Zeus blow by all three of those things and a whole bunch of others,” Olechowski said. “The trojan can bypass all this stuff through some pretty clever engineering.”
“We are seeing a lot of prepackaged kits that you can buy for a couple hundred to a thousand dollars that include a whole bunch of different techniques designed to compromise machines that are not patched,” Olechowski said.
The pricier kits include exploits for zero-day vulnerabilities, he addedSome cybercriminals make money by selling the kits themselves, while others use the kits to infect PCs with malware and to establish a botnet, which they can rent out to other cybercriminals.
“We are starting to see this real transformation from old IM [instant messaging] and phishing scams to leveraging trust and social networks to get people to perform actions that individuals would not perform otherwise and endanger themselves and their machines,” Olechowski said.