Feeds

Infamous malware group calls it quits

29A has left the building

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

The shutters are being pulled down on old school virus writers' group 29A.

29A, hexadecimal for 666, is an underground VXer collective known for creating the first Win 2000 virus, the first 64bit virus, and early examples of mobile malware that infected devices such as PDAs.

The group also published information on how to create viruses through an irregular magazine, seven editions of which were republished on its website. The magazine contained examples of virus source code and tutorials on how to write malware.

The group has been in decline since its heyday at the turn of the century. A steady exodus of members over recent years accelerated early this year as it emerged that GriYo, Vecna, and Z0MBiE left the collective.

This "pretty much sounded the death knell for the group", Symantec notes, as the group itself has recently acknowledged. One of the last remaining members, VirusBuster, has posted what appears to be the group's valedictory.

"I tried to contact ValleZ for some time in order to take a decision together about the future of 29A with no luck therefore I decided to take the decision alone. And my decision is that 29A goes officially retired. I feel this is fair because I am kinda the alpha and the omega of the group. 29A was born in Dark Node, my BBS, and I am the last active member of the group," VirusBuster writes. "29A has left the building!"

As previously reported, other less well known VXer groups are dying the death, a development symptomatic of changes in the malware market. Profit has replaced mischief, intellectual curiosity, or a desire to make a name for yourself as the motive for creating malware.

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, at least.

Instead of getting proof of concept malware from the likes of 29A, we're dealing with the Storm Worm Trojan and other sophisticated "professionally developed" botnet clients.

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. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.