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Enterprising Hackers Commercialize Their Activities

Security research has clear evidence that we have stepped into a new and dangerous period in malware development. That time has gone when teenage virus writers were seeking fame in the 80s and 90s. We now have a real market for malicious codes where hackers are specializing in their skills and are capitalizing from such business conditions.

As the tide of malware rises, advanced hackers are transacting toolkits & selling them for monetary gains. Enterprising hackers are earning big bucks by selling code that was available for free earlier. . They are making good profits by selling toolkits for prices anywhere between $30 and $3,000.

With the development of the vulnerability market, a vast majority of hackers choose to trade new exploits for gain and not disclose them to the security vendor with affected product. There is shopping of vulnerabilities in online auctions and tradable products like toolkits are being created and packaged for this market. The malicious code that can be used without being identified is one item in the range of toolkits available in the online market.

The market for malware is huge and is always expanding. Greedy hackers are finding ever-new ways to exploit loopholes. Till recently, hacking was fundamentally a recreational practice and the successful hackers were sporting and responsible enough to report to the vendors whose products were affected by the hack. But the seen has changed. Now, hackers would rather sell their exploits to criminals who willingly pay handsome amounts.

Joel Camissar, Australia manager of Websense, said that the whole industry is developing and releasing toolkits for profit. He says that the websites that host malicious codes have a special statistics page that lists the number of infected clients, the client percentage infected by a specific code and a division by country, operating system and browser.

The commercialization of toolkits is an outcome of not only the increase in number of units established to help 'non-technical' users by exploit kits but also an increase in exploit tools for network-level vulnerabilities that enable hackers to host their code on infected sites. Hackers are increasingly becoming creative, targeted and business savvy.

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