Proliferation of Exploit Kits as a Service
Ever wonder why Cybercrime is becoming Big Business and so widespread! Even though the media is known to exaggerate, the primary reason for the burst in digital crime is automation. And by this we mean that the tools of the trade that criminals use to engage in cyber crime are now being available as a service. Earlier geeks and hackers had to really look hard to come across an exploit that was not already fixed. Today anyone literally anyone with bitcoins in their digital wallet can lay their hands on tools to carry out attack on a website or spread havoc on your enemies digital infrastructure.
This being termed as “Exploit kits as a Service” being openly advertised on search engines. These services basically offer to post infected banners on regular websites or offer a script that one can embed on their own website which all a user has to do is click on a link and the exploit service scans through the users computer to find security holes and then once the backdoor is located, the service spills the dropper program that installs the malware on the victims computer and most occasionally it is a ransom-ware. The attacker need not be a hacker or a security expert but simply criminal minded and there are many out there with loads of cash to offload for such services.
Naturally Cyber-crime as a service is becoming a killer business. So the next time you visit a website and your computer starts to crawl you could be opening the doors of hell. The scary part of this endeavor is that one can customize what one wants from such a service. Following are a few examples:
- They also offer distribution channels (infrastructure) to target more people and thus offer a better infection rate and return on investment.
- Select from a bouquet of pre-loaded malware or upload your own.
- Select from the thousands of vulnerabilities for those who want a more specific task to achieve.
- Help you remain stealthy bypassing most ant-virus and firewall software.
- Option to buy or rent which basically pay as you use.
- Most offer technical support.
- Infect entire networks or systems.
- Harvest Confidential data.
- Engage in Spam through botnets – a very profitable venture.
And we are just scratching the surface here. Recently last year, a company was exposed selling exploits and malware to security agencies around the world. This shows how sophisticated cybercrime has become and also lucrative. So the moot question is how to protect our computers from these exploit services? It is actually not so difficult and here is a short list:
- Apply regular updates to all software installed on your computer or computing devices such as smartphones, tablets, etc
- Install a reliable anti-virus as well as an anti-malware in combo to ensure you are able to snare most of the exploits and update these too regularly to ensure that those exploits that are already detected do not infect your computer.
- Install security solutions that will prevent installation of software or patches that are not from authorized sources. Many back-doors go through the patching route pretending to be genuine updates.
- Avoid websites heavy with adobe and flash scripts as well as do not fall pray to scam offers that generally lure you towards websites leaching with infections.