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Crime Kits Becoming More Accessible, Says Symantec

There was a time when if an up and coming criminal wanted to start earning money as a botmaster, the process was time consuming and expensive. According to researchers at Symantec, that isn’t the case these days, as crime kits are getting easier to obtain.

In the past, as in four or five years ago, crime kits such as Zeus or SpyEye were only being sold on underground markets. However, recently Symantec has observed several places where the illegal software is being sold openly, alongside other legitimate software for sale. Ironically, anyone who purchases some of these kits are being victimized themselves, as the code is outdated in some cases and ridiculously overpriced.

“You are probably wondering if this is all a scam. Perhaps, most of the crimeware kit sellers are out for a quick profit, but some of these sites discussed below have a feedback system. Just like an auction and community selling website, a fraudster is not going to last long and will not profit in the long run with a bad reputation,” Symantec explained in a recent blog post.

While some of the Web-based storefronts cater strictly to malware and other criminal sales, they’re not fly-by-night operations, and many of the domains are created with a professional flair. However, Symantec says that those types of markets are not the only place where crime kits can be found. Point-in-case, is the discovery of two versions of Zeus being sold on a website that offers legitimate digital goods.

Zeus Trojan Being Sold Online

Zeus Trojan Fully FUD

“Previously, it was necessary to be a member of an exclusive community to purchase these files, but it appears that it is now getting easier. Although the logic of caveat emptor is out the door here, most enterprising criminals, both professional and amateur, who purchase these goods simply do not care. Usually, if they are scammed, it is the cost of doing business for them and they move on,” Symantec said.

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.