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Shedding light on China's underground cybercrime economy
Written by Daniel   
Wednesday, 05 December 2007 11:01

Shedding light on China's underground cybercrime economy
By Ryan Paul | Published: December 05, 2007 - 09:56AM CT
ARS Technica

A study (PDF) published this week by researchers from China and Germany provides insight into the scope of the rapidly growing underground cybercrime economy in China. The paper explores the complex relationships between different kinds of participants in the underground economy, reveals the value of various illicit technical goods and services, measures the number of malware propagation sites, and evaluates the mitigation efficacy of popular antivirus programs.

The paper describes an economic model for China's cybercrime underground and enumerates several categories of participants: malware developers, phishing site operators, crackers, login information (referred to as "envelopes" in the study) thieves, virtual asset thieves, and virtual asset sellers. The study also identifies an additional category of participants—called players—who purchase dubiously-obtained virtual assets, typically for use in popular Internet games. The paper then explains how participants from these categories interact to create the underground market.

"The Virus Writers take care of implementing Web-based and conventional Trojans, and use evasion methods to create covert Trojans, and then they sell the malware and evasion service," the paper says. "Website Masters/Crackers betray their customers or crack unsafe websites, and sell the visitor traffic of their own or harvested web sites. Envelope Stealers construct a Web-based Trojan network by hosting the bought Web-based and conventional Trojans on compromised computers, and redirect the web site visitors to their Web-based Trojans. When the Web-based Trojan network is ready, the victims who visit the malicious web sites will be redirected to and exploited by the Web-based Trojans, and infected with further conventional Trojans. These Trojans then steal envelopes and virtual assets from the victim's machine."... Much More   Comments in the Forums

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