Virus authors form league of ungentlemanly fiends

An anti-virus expert is claiming that virus writers are working together, leading to the development of more widespread and dangerous malware.

Speaking from technology conference CeBIT in Germany Eugene Kaspersky, head of his self-titled anti-virus company, said that the authors of Bagle, Zafi and Netsky variants are working together.

"There are two points to consider here: first of all, virus writers are exchanging information, which means that more targets will be attacked by more malicious programs," said Kaspersky. "And secondly, the process of mass mailing malicious programs has been automated; this means that virus writers are able to greatly increase the volume of viruses and worms which they send out. Both of these developments illustrate the trend that writers of malicious code are no longer doing this for fun - they have organised themselves to access information which they can then use for their own ends."

Malware is increasingly being created for profit with trojan backdoors and functions used for spamming, phishing and spoofing. Last year SC reported virus writers were shifting their focus from fame to profit-making.

"It's not only an attack on users, but also on antivirus companies; increased volume of malicious programs will make it more and more difficult for antivirus companies to effectively detect all new malicious programs," said Kaspersky. "And any increase in the number of malicious programs circulating is bad news for end users, as it makes internet use and email communication less reliable and less trustworthy."

But not all virus writers are working together. Earlier this week SC reported a new criminal turf war was being fought over instant messaging (IM) viruses, with each group working against each other to get the upper hand.

And in March 2004 it was revealed the Netsky, MyDoom and Bagle worms actively fought to remove each other from the internet.

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