Hackers are applying the ideas of cloud computing to online fraud in a move that means even technically illiterate crooks can move into cybercrime.
Fraud as a service products are being punted through underground forums, according to Uri Rivner, head of new technologies at RSA's consumer division. This means that for around $299 a month, would-be phishing fraudsters need only log on to obtain fraud lists, with the grunt work of writing Trojan code, hosting, distribution and updates carried out behind the scenes on their behalf.
The development of Web 2.0 fraud is not entirely without risk for fraudsters - for one thing cases have being recorded where phishing toolkits contained backdoors. The FBI's successful sting on members of the Dark Market underground forum has made fraudsters more wary of trusting their supposed partners in crime on other sites, according to Rivner.
Despite these issues, a certain level of trust among thieves remains. Underground hackers have developed cybercrime versions of social networking sites and collaboration suites. Blogs, forums and podcasts have mushroomed, with hackers even reviewing Trojans in much the same way the mainstream tech press reviews anti-malware products.
An example of the sophistication of cracker collateral can be found in a training video by Turkish credit card skimmer supplier Chao, posted through YouTube (below). A suspect reckoned to be Chao was arrested as part of the FBI's take down of the denizens of the Dark Market forum. The ATM fraud devices created by Chao were put together from off-the-shelf components.
Chao's video is media-savvy and even amusing. The cartoon representation of Chao (which wouldn't look out of place on South Park) offers top tips in broken English on issues such as avoiding the installation of skimmers in small towns or during the morning, when people are likely to be more vigilant.
Discussions about cybercrime often revolve around miscreants based in Eastern Europe - especially Russia - but Brazilian hackers are arguably the most technically sophisticated in the world. Australia is often a testing ground for the latest attack techniques, while the land of the samba has emerged as a hot spot in the evolution of new malware and attack techniques, particularly in the sphere of phishing. "Brazil is a cesspool of fraud," Rivner said. ®