Malicious Programs: Their Past, Present and Future

29 Jul 2005
Virus News

Kaspersky Lab, a leading developer of information security solutions that protect against viruses, hacker attacks and spam, announced today that a new analysis of trends in malware evolution shows that cyber criminals are changing tactics to improve their return on investment. Senior virus analyst Yury Mashevsky studied the changes in the numbers of malicious programs that have been added to the Kaspersky Anti-Virus database in the period from January 2003 through May 2005 to confirm a hypothesis proposed earlier in the year by Kaspersky Lab analysts: Internet criminals are indeed moving towards better defined structures and clearer business processes.

The full report “Watershed in Malicious Code Evolution” is published in the Analysis section of the website.

Yury Mashevsky comments, “The rate at which VirWare (viruses and worms) and TrojWare (Trojans and spyware) programs were added to antivirus databases indicates that cybercriminals are changing their tactics. Instead of organizing large-scale virus outbreaks, cyber criminals are mailing spam containing Trojans and backdoors that are not capable of propagating on their own.”

He continues, “This trend is due to economic expediency: developing such programs is incomparably cheaper and easier than creating fully-fledged network worms, while the same Trojan can be easily hidden from the watchful eye of antivirus programs by using a multitude of different compression utilities.”

The article also illustrates the explosive growth in AdWare programs detected by Kaspersky Anti-Virus, discusses the surge in the number of new malicious programs for platforms other than MS Windows (Symbian, UNIX, .NET), and analyzes changes in the frequency with which updates of Kaspersky Anti-Virus databases are released.

The text will be of interest both to information security experts and to users of Kaspersky Lab products wishing to gain a more complete understanding of the situation related to the development of malicious programs and the tools for fighting them — in other words, the antivirus programs installed on their computers.