Virus Writers Adopting Stealth Strategy
Source: Security Pipeline - Posted by Pax Dickinson   
Security Virus writers who once favored releasing malware that would clog corporate networks by the thousands have shifted to a strategy of secrecy in which they commandeer PCs on the Internet in the pursuit of dollars instead of notoriety, a security expert said Friday.

Security firm Symantec Corp. has seen a dramatic decrease in network-damaging viruses over the last year and an increase in less destructive Trojans that quietly embed themselves into a PC.

Such viruses typically scour computers for people's personal data, such as social security numbers and passwords, and then send the information to a clandestine server, Dave Cole, director of product management for the Symantec Security Response Center, said. The data is usually sold on the black market to criminals looking to use the information to obtain credit cards or raid bank accounts.

The quiet Trojans are also used to host web sites in the infected machines, send spam or take part in denial of service attacks.

Last year, Symantec reported 33 category three and four viruses, which are the type that cause massive amounts of damage. Examples of such notorious viruses include Sasser and Blaster. The worst virus in Symantec's rating system is a category five, which has never been used.

"That's for the apocalypse," Cole said, jokingly.

This year, however, Symantec has only reported three such viruses while seeing a significant increase in category 2 viruses, which are the more stealthy Trojans.

Read this full article at Security Pipeline

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