Cash, blow-up dolls and mime artist star at spyware knees-up
Cybercrims launch Bacchanalia 2.0
NSFW It's common knowledge that malware has become the purview of cybercriminals rather than mere mischief-makers. But unlike the frolics of dotcom yuppies, the excesses of Eastern European cybercrooks have rarely been chronicled.
So, we're indebted to the upstanding affiliates of Klik Revenue, a Russian-based outfit that allegedly pushes (pdf) rogue anti-spyware apps and games search engines, among other miscellaneous activities, for documenting their latest party. Held in the Bianca Resort Hotel SPA in Montenegro in February, the event featured wads of cash in briefcases, flash cars, plenty of booze and inflatable love dolls. And, inexplicably, a mime artist.
This year's event is a village fete compared to Klik's previous party in Prague two years ago, which boasted strippers dressed as FBI agents and other X-rated excesses.
As Sunbelt Software notes: "It's good to see that these nice, upstanding boys are having so much fun with their honest, hard-earned money."
The Klik gig was drawn to our attention in a presentation by Panda Security, at a recent event in Barcelona. A screenshot of Klik's internal stats engine, obtained by Panda, can be found below.
Russian anti-virus firm Kaspersky Labs said that Klik's business is illegal under Russian law, pointing out the difficulties of cybercrime prosecutions that can leave suspected crooks (in Russian and elsewhere) uncuffed.
Yuri Mashevsky, senior virus analyst at Russian net security firm Kaspersky Lab, said: “Unfortunately, the Klik group is just one of many such groups operating in Russia, and so far such organizations feel relatively safe. Their actions span not only fake anti-spyware, abuse-proof hosting services, but also a huge number of fake online-shops (which receive money from customers but send them nothing in return). Such groups also trade malware, which is often custom-tailored for their 'clients' needs. As a result, the amount of money earned by such criminal groups is stunning."
The Klik group's activities are illegal under Russian law, and punishments can be severe. "However, like their colleagues in other countries throughout the world, due to many reasons Russian legal authorities have a lot of trouble investigating such crimes and proving the guilt of cybercriminals," Mashevsky explained.
"First of all, to start an investigation they need a legal application from the victim, and in the majority of cases there are no such applications. Besides, modern cybercriminals are rather professional people, and they know how to hide their tracks.
"Hence, such cases rarely make it to the court. But sometimes Russian legal authorities crack some very complicated cases, like the one when in December 2007 Russian FSB managed to find and arrest the authors of the notorious 'Pinch' Trojans, which are one of the most widespread pieces of crimeware."
Klik Revenue doesn't publish contact numbers on its website. Our attempts to reach it by email failed when messages bounced from support and business development mailboxes were said to be full. ®
....the parent company of phorm?
They've just proved their business is supplying them with enough cash for it to to be worth taking it off them. Usually it's sensible to keep quiet while you rake in the cash.
Then again Russians are never particularly subtle when it comes to showing their wealth.
I'm sure some unfriendly sorts will be around to crash their party soon, and liberate them of their surplus funds. I doubt a gang of spyware writers have the kind of contacts necessary to deflect the wrong sort of interest, even if they have managed to bribe the authorities.
Or if they're lucky it'll just be the paramilitary tax police coming around to say hello and ask for a donation.
Follow the Money
If the Russian authorities cant nail them for the actual criminal activity, surely they follow the obvious wads of cash floating around?
Income Tax Evasion. The FBI managed it with Al Capone......
The icon represents the Russian Eagle, because if they cant crack the enormous amount of organised crime that's flourished post-USSR, I dont see much of a future for the Russian state.....