Feeds

Old school VXers calling it quits

Grownup, shutdown

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

The old School Virus writers (VXers) scene is dying a death, according to Symantec.

Key members of long-established VXers groups are drifting away while others are struggling to get enough material together for underground malware magazines. "There should be no question anymore that the VX scene is dying," Symantec reports.

Roy g biv has officially left the 29A group while prominent member Vallez has been silent for over a year. 29A, Hexadecimal for 666, is a virus writer group known for creating the first Win 2000 virus and early examples of mobile malware that infected PDAs and the like.

Meanwhile neither EOF or DoomRiderz, other loose-knit VXer groups, have enough material for a new zine. The two are planning to throw in the lot with another group, rRlf, in an attempt to get together enough material for a magazine. "Even those three groups combined might not have enough material for a zine," notes Symantec researcher Peter Ferrie.

Profit has replaced mischief, intellectual curiosity or a desire to make a name for yourself as the motive for creating malware over recent years. Traditional virus writers have drifted away from the scene to be replaced by more shadowy coders creating sophisticated Trojans aimed at turning an illicit profit. Enforcement action against virus writers has acted as a further disincentive for hobbyists though not, unfortunately, for those that make their livelihood from cybercrime.

Virus writing has changed from a cottage industry to a commercial enterprise. So instead of getting proof of concept malware from hobbyists we're dealing with the Storm worm Trojan and other sophisticated "professionally developed" botnet clients, such as Nugache, a new malware strain that can be controlled without use of a command and control server.

The days of malware that deletes Romanian gypsy music, talks to victims or creates a game that allows users of infected PCs to throw coconuts at anti-virus expert Graham Cluley have become relics of another era. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.