Feeds

Upstart crimeware wages turf war on mighty Zeus bot

All your bots belong to us

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Purveyors of a new botnet toolkit are touting a feature aimed at aspiring cybercriminals: the opportunity to commandeer computers already compromised by an established crimeware package known as Zeus.

The SpyEye toolkit made its debut in December on Russian underground forums with a retail price of $500. It comes with usual configurable amenities such as a keylogger, credential stealers for credit cards, FTP and Pop3 email accounts, and a graphical control panel for managing large botnets.

But according to this brief analysis from security researchers at Symantec, it advertises a novel feature: a "Zeus killer" designed to disinfect computers already compromised by the 800-pound gorilla crimeware package.

"The new kill Zeus feature is optional during the trojan build process, but it supposedly goes as far as allowing you to delete Zeus from an infected system - meaning only SpyEye should remain running on the compromised system," the analysis states. "If the use of SpyEye takes off, it could dent Zeus bot herds and lead to retaliation from the creators of the Zeus crimeware toolkit."

This is by no means the first time competing crimeware gangs have taken potshots at each other. In 2007, the Srizbi botnet trojan was found to uninstall competing spam malware that was part of the notorious Storm Worm. Like rival street gangs fighting over drug turf, Beagle, Netsky and Mydoom crimeware kits have also engaged in protracted bot wars. Even rival phishing gangs seem to have adopted the practice.

The Zeus killer was spotted in version 1.0.7 of SpyEye. Symantec researchers have yet to assess whether it works as advertised. But they say it taps the same Windows dll file Zeus uses for communications, allowing rival criminals to tap into requests sent to the Zeus master control server.

Symantec says use of SpyEye remains minimal. If it takes off, rest assured Zeus developers will respond in kind. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Mozilla, EFF, Cisco back free-as-in-FREE-BEER SSL cert authority
Let’s Encrypt to give HTTPS-everywhere a boost in 2015
Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age
Kiwis to seek random investors for crowd-funded randomiser
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.