Technology

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Russian Hackers Market Virus–Building Tool

May 16, 2008 12:41 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
MPack is a user-friendly software package, marketed out of Russia, designed to turn any novice hacker into a master virus builder; this is the latest in a series of stories highlighting the activities of sophisticated and very active Russian hackers.

30-Second Summary

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For between $700 and $1,000, the Dream Coders Team will sell MPack to anyone who fancies creating a computer virus to attack the hard drives of unwitting users.

“Without any computer science skill or any security background, you can install this package on any Web server and start to infect people with malicious code," Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CTO of security company Finjan, told CNET.

Tim Eades, of Sana Security, explained to the BBC that hackers are capitalizing on rising demand: "It's the classic verticalization of a market as it starts to mature."

Last spring, the MPack was responsible for an estimated 10,000 compromised sites in Europe and, this September, the Bank of India was attacked by a Russian crime organization that purchased software from the Dream Coders Team.

According to The New York Times, the rise of Russian hackers can be, at least in part, explained by cultural and economic factors. The Russian education system is strong on math and science, but there are few job opportunities for the high-achievers after they graduate.

In addition, decades of authoritarian rule under communism has created a society with “a deep skepticism about the virtues of following the rules.”

International observers have even suspected the Russian government of organizing hacking operations. In May, 2007, Estonia was hit with a barrage of cyber attacks. According to the Guardian, “If it were established that Russia is behind the attacks, it would be the first known case of one state targeting another by cyber-warfare.”

Headline Links: Marketing the MPack

Background Links: A hacking timeline

Opinion and Analysis: Cyber terrorism and the hackers' lifestyle

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