Finjan’s Malicious Code Research Center (MCRC) managed to research a trading network and botnet, where compromised PCs are bought and sold for profit.
In the second issue of its “Cybercrime Intelligence Report” of 2009 (PDF), Finjan shows the operations of the Golden Cash network consisting of an entire trading platform of malware-infested PCs. The trading platform utilizes all necessary components (buyer side, seller side, attack toolkit, and distribution via “partners”). This advanced trading platform marks a new milestone in the cybercrime evolution.
By turning compromised PCs from a one-time source of profit into a digital asset that can be bought and sold again and again, cybercriminals are maximizing their illegal gains.
The cybercrime intelligence report covers the following:
- On the buyer side of the trading platform, batches of 1,000 malware-infected PCs can be purchased for $5 up to $100; depending on territory
- Partners are paid for successfully distributing the bot and collecting FTP-credentials of legitimated websites through the infected PCs
- On the seller side of the trading platform, cybercriminals sell batches of 1,000 malware-infected PCs for $25 up to $500
- Compromised malware infected PCs may be infected with additional malware each time they are purchased by a new “owner”
- For attacks and exploitations, an exploit toolkit with obfuscated code and the Trojan Zalupko attack toolkit are provided.
“As reported by Finjan before, cybercriminals keep on looking for improved methods to generate profit. In addition to stealing data and selling them on, they now also trade compromised PCs to as many buyers, sellers and partners as possible. Looking at the list of compromised PCs we found, it is clear that no individual, corporate or governmental PC is safe,” said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CTO of Finjan.