Malware industry becomes more professional and their creators are focused on obtaining financial benefits.
A radical change in malware

Over the last two years, we have witnessed a change in the malware dynamic, which stems from a change in the motivation of malware authors. Previously, they sought fame. Now, their motivation is purely financial: hackers are becoming more professional.

Up until 2004, widespread epidemics were getting faster and their effects were always clearly visible. They sought media coverage. Everyone can remember “I love you” or “Netsky”.

There is a false idea that these type of epidemics no longer exist. However, the statistics are alarming and clearly demonstrates that not only is there a lot more malware around than before, but also that the motivation of malware authors has changed. Now, their motivation is purely financial and there is an entire industry behind them, financing and encouraging them, and this means that they are becoming more professional.

To do this, they are using increasingly advanced technologies and more sophisticated malware, designed specifically to go undetected. This new malware is far more difficult to combat.

The number of examples of new threats received by antivirus laboratories has increased dramatically. Panda Labs receives up to 1,500 unique samples of new malware every day, whereas it used to receive 400 a month.

Obviously, when making money illegally, it is better to lay low and be discreet. Therefore, malware authors are not interested in creating large-scale and visible epidemics. New malware is hidden, silent.

Hackers use increasingly sophisticated stealth techniques, such as rootkits.

For this reason, widespread epidemics have changed and now, the phrase on everyone’s lips is silent epidemics. This is not because they are any smaller in scale, but because they are less obvious, and stay hidden.

Users infected by this type of silent epidemic are not aware that while they are using their PC (at home or at work), they could be controlled by a third-party to carry out any type of malicious action (botnets).

The new malware dynamic focused on cyber-crime and financial benefits, has brought about new malware categories: