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CA issues 'crimeware' warning

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CA Technologies in a new “crimeware” report says that, these days, nearly two billion people use the Internet—and many of them are vulnerable to scams and security threats.

Especially what CA calls “crimeware-as-a-service” threats carried out by organized groups.

Islandia-based CA’s “State of the Internet 2010: A Report on the Ever-Changing Threat Landscape” says that “the most prevalent threat activity in the first half of 2010 including the emergence of organized "crimeware-as-a-service" that is fueling the rapid development of sophisticated new threats.”

The report identifies “more than 400 new families of threats — led by rogue security software, downloaders and backdoors. Trojans were found to be the most prevalent category of new threats, accounting for 73 percent of total threat infections reported around the world,” CA says.

CA estimates that 96 percent of Trojans found were components of an emerging underground trend towards organized cybercrime, or "crimeware-as-a-service."

CA uses the phrase "crimeware-as-a-service" to describe the commercial offerings of a community of law-breaking IT programmers who sell ready-made virus, spyware and malware, and also provide access to layers of protection to keep their customers' identities secret.

For example, a crimeware provider could write and sell – for about $500 -- an information-grabber such as Spyeye, then help the customer shield his or her identity through the use of dummy or zombie computers while the Spyeye program gathers bank account and credit card information from Internet-linked computers.

In short, the crimeware-as-a-service includes providing – for a fee – the means to steal online, and the concealment needed to get away undetected.

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