Oh, the irony! Malware writers are now protecting their product from being pirated, according to security software provider Symantec.
Malware is a big business these days, and the writers earn their money by selling or renting ‘kitsets’ which non-technical users can then embed in their websites, in the hope of getting bank account numbers and passwords. The malware writers sometimes also work on a commission basis, taking a percentage of any ill-gotten gains.
The market for kitset malware is huge – last year there were some 40,000 unique versions of the ZeuS malware toolkit in circulation, and each toolkit can cost as much as $US8000. The malware writers decided that their fruit of their labours needed protection from unauthorised use, so they’re using their own digital rights management (DRM) software – just like record companies use to fight illegal copying.
And the sort of websites where such toolkits are embedded? XXX ‘adult’ sites are top of the list (see related story this page).
So if you must visit such sites, try to resist invitations to download ‘special’ content. It’s almost certainly malware aimed at stealing confidential information from your computer. And if the temptation is still too great, be sure you’ve got the sort of security software that screens such downloads, or warns of the risk of being redirected to a malicious website.