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Hacker Turf War Will Lead To Large E-Crime Gangs

A new worm war may be brewing, warns Russian security expert.

InformationWeek Staff

March 18, 2005

1 Min Read

A new worm war may be brewing, the head of Moscow-based Kaspersky Labs' research efforts said Friday.

The battle is shaping up between rival cyber gangs over the newest turf, infectable PCs. "Some machines connected to the Internet are protected well, some are not," wrote Eugene Kaspersky in the anti-virus vendor's analyst blog. "They are 'infectable.'

"[But] what happens when cyber criminals infect most or all potentially vulnerable machines?" he asked. If a vulnerable machine is infected by 10 different worms intended to turn the box into a spam proxy, then those 10 hackers have to share the PC's bandwidth. "Will the Internet connection be good enough to support 10 different bots? Probably not. So what will spammers do to continue making money? Exactly. They'll remove competitors," said Kaspersky.

Kaspersky said there's evidence that this turf tussle is already underway. A new Trojan -- dubbed Small.bi -- for instance, removes a number of .exe files associated with Trojan-like names before it installs itself. Adware/spyware rivals are doing the same; an increasing number of the spyware Kaspersky examines in its lab remove competitors' titles.

"My prediction would be that after the smaller gangs fight it out among themselves, the winners will absorb the losers, and we'll see several well organized and large e-gangs emerge," said Kaspersky.

"Yet another step in the direction of organized cyber crime."

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