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Spyware evolving faster than viruses

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Darwinism in action as malicious software proliferates
Iain Thomson at Infosec, 26 Apr 2006

Adware Report Editor's Note: We recently saw this in action with SpyAxe and its many variants. This is why it's more important than ever to use a spyware remover from a company that provides frequent updates.

The evolution of spyware is outpacing that of viruses, with some software resetting itself hourly to evade detection, security experts warned today at Infosec Europe.

Security firm Webroot recorded a dramatic rise in spyware in the past 12 months, almost all of it aimed at harvesting financial data that could be used by third parties.

Experts have also warned that the next target for such malware will be VoIP applications such as Skype.

"Voice is definitely the next attack vector. But this time the malware writers won't use it for financial gain but for stealing intellectual property, " said Gerhard Eschelbeck, chief technology officer at Webroot and founder of vulnerability testing firm Qualys.

Eschelbeck claims to have identified significant changes in the way spyware is being developed compared to viruses.

Viruses tend to be developed and distributed by individuals before being used by third parties. Spyware, on the other hand, is typically developed by teams working to order and learns the lessons of viruses.

Some code even resets sections of itself every hour in an effort to fool signature-based security software.

'Build your own spyware' kits are already commonplace on the internet in publicly available forums, leading to fears that 'script kiddies', technically unsophisticated users, could develop and distribute their own malware.

Eschelbeck added that his company had seen a 40 per cent rise in the amount of spyware in circulation over the past three months, and warned that the availability of spyware kits will fuel further rises.

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Last Updated on April 26, 2006 01:36 PM ?|?TrackBack

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