The Virus is 25!

Monday, 24 January 2011 18:48 Ayman Abouseif
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Twenty five years ago, two brothers from Pakistan released the Brain Virus. Today, hackers can buy packaged toolkits to launch malware attacks. Basit and Amjad, the Alvi brothers of Lahore, gave the world the first bit of malware capable of infecting a PC this month 25 years ago. Later on the brothers told Time magazine they had written the virus to protect their medical software from piracy. Now malware has become a useful tool in the bag of tricks bad guys use to steal from consumers and institutions alike.

One particularly disturbing trend coming to light in this anniversary month is the production and online sale of "kits" that allow relatively unskilled hackers to create and launch malware attacks. These kits are usually composed of prewritten malicious code for exploiting vulnerabilities along with various tools to customize, deploy, and automate broad or targeted attacks.
Attack kits are selling on the web from $40 to about $4000. Some kits even come with online support and subscription services, so the bad guys can get updated versions of the malware.
Attack kits certainly make it easier for relatively unsophisticated hackers to cause major harm. The kits offer a wide variety of functionality, from stealing financial data and passwords to decapitating your PC and from spying on and reprogramming industrial systems to denial of service attacks that can bring any website to its knees.
Unbeknown to the Alvi brothers at the time, they had accidentally added a new aspect to the IT industry which is security and of course its malicious counterpart. One thing is for sure malware is becoming more sophisticated every day and the good guys are making a great effort to stay in sync.
Security has become a major headache for CIOs around the world. However let us not forget that many security breaches are still possible because of lax in physical security procedures.

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Last Updated on Saturday, 07 May 2011 12:04
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