The Market For Malware

At a time when our country’s major news outlets have reignited the debate about topics ranging from gun control to same sex marriage another similarly controversial subject has ominously taken a back seat. Cyber-warfare is by no means new, its existence has been well documented for some time but recently an influx of programmers have expanded the market for niche computer software whose general use is malevolent. These applications have come to be known as “exploits” and are intended to find vulnerabilities within a computer system ultimately to apply their namesake. These functions could range from retrieving someone’s credit card pin-code to a government purchasing a computer virus to create a technological antibiotic. The good news is that the industry is more regulated than ever with one half exploits being bought legally through legitimate vendors, as for the bad news, the other half of exploits are bought through the black market which is catering to customers whose computing needs become more menacing by the minute. Even more worrying is the difficulty involved in tracing malware as programmers diligently cover their tracks to conceal the identity of their exploits up until, of course, they are released. The reasoning goes: It’s much harder to contain a “new” virus as opposed to one that has been frequently used and outdated. All this adds up to a vulnerable economy with programmers constantly inventing new applications for whatever reasons, whether they be for personal gain or for a demonstration of political affiliation; governments and their citizens are nevertheless placed in precarious positions. In fact, the Czech Republic was recently hit with a wave of cyber-attacks that culminated in a DOS( Denial of Service) for customers at its largest bank, UniCredit. The attack was conducted by overloading the Banking Systems digital operations and preventing their customers from accessing banking information via online. I believe a similar attack was lodged upon American Banks a couple months ago. Naturally, when these exploits are conducted via a large-scale operation, their functions become more and more detrimental to society, in this case preventing the quick distributions of cash. Given their extreme effectiveness in disrupting integral components of societies, it will be exploits, not bombs that will serve as the future weapons of mass destruction for our warring nations, and furthermore, between groups of peoples within nations. Given the increasing presence of these applications, i would venture to guess that these attacks will only become more problematic for society as a whole .

MOS

http://www.economist.com/news/business/21574478-market-software-helps-hackers-penetrate-computer-systems-digital-arms-trade

http://www.economist.com/blogs/easternapproaches/2013/03/cyber-attack-czech-republic

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1 thought on “The Market For Malware”

  1. This is especially frightening when you consider the existence of botnets. With the new HTML5, webpages are allowed something like 30mb of storage space on your computer to help loading times. This means that when a website cascades you with fake ads, their exploiting this 30mb maximum and downloading gigabytes of material on your computer in seconds. They can use this to create a botnet, or a wide range of computers that the botnet master has some level of control over. He can then use this botnet to release a massive DOS attack all by himself. This is similar to what happened a while back when the group Anonymous took down the Department of Justice’s website.

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