A long time ago, hackers and other cyber criminals were computer experts in multiple programming languages. They knew the ins-and-outs of the inner workings of a Personal Computer (PC) and how to manipulate and exploit their weaknesses. As the years went by, script kiddies became more abundant. A script kiddy is a person who lacks computer programming knowledge and uses programs developed by “true hackers” or programmers to engage in cybercrime. Today, computer programmers across the globe have seen script kiddies as a lucrative business…that is if you are engaged in cybercrime. True hackers have taken a step back from breaking into computer systems and started developing and selling “Crimeware” kits to script kiddies.
Crimeware kits are all encompassing software packages that were designed for nontechnical cybercriminals…or script kiddies. Crimeware kits allow individuals to easily create and engage in Phishing, botnets, viruses, Trojans, and other malicious activities such as Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. Anyone with little to no knowledge can purchase a crimeware kit and start engaging in cybercrimae. There are a plethora of crimeware kits available for sale on the criminal Internet underground. Some of the more well known crimeware kits are: Zeus, iPack, Avalanche, and SpyEye.
These programs range in price anywhere from $500-5000; but for a cybercriminal this may be a very small investment. Zeus is personally responsible for millions of dollars in losses from consumers as well as businesses throughout the globe. As previously mentioned, Zeus as well as other crimeware kits make creating a botnet as easy as clicking a few buttons. Botnets are nothing more then a collection of covert software agents what run autonomously on your computer, making it a zombie to the botnet owner. Botnets may have thousands of infected computers or zombies under their control at any given time. Zombie computers have been identified both at home and in Fortune 500 companies.
Zombie computers can be controlled at a moments notice by the botnet owner allowing them to steal or manipulate data at their liking. Though botnets are a threat to computer security in general and to national security, the easy creation of them by crimeware kits posses even more of a threat. The easy acquisition of crimeware kits will likely increase the creation of botnets and other malicious programs increasing the chance personal, business, and government computer systems may become infected. As time passes, new versions of the crimeware kits are created adding more features to their lethal arsenal.
This information is based on my own training, experiences, and knowledge.