19 Jan 2011

Anyone can become a hacker

Twenty-five years have passed since the Brain Virus, which was the first to infect a DOS-based PC, revealed itself.

The Brain was not harmful, unlike malware today. People use viruses to steal valuable information from companies and unsuspecting consumers all over the world. A disturbing trend is the fact there are attack kits available for sale.

These kits allow unskilled hackers to launch dangerous malware. The kits - available for $40, $50 to about $4000 - include bundles of code tools that can be used to launch attacks on network computers.

One kit, called ZeuS, accounted for more than 90,000 unique code variants in August 2009 alone. The number of computers attacked is estimated to be in the millions, according to a major security company.

“Also known as crimeware, these kits are usually composed of prewritten malicious code for exploiting vulnerabilities along with various tools to customize, deploy and automate widespread attacks," said a development manager for the company.

A major danger lies in the fact there are so many new viruses, they are hard to detect. Many are able to attack different platforms, such as Mac and Linux. More than 60 percent of all online attacks are developed using these kits.