Attack kit spike making cyber crime easy

Cyber crime

The proliferation of attack toolkits has made cyber crime possible for novices and experts alike, a report has indicated.

Such kits have become increasingly easy to use, extending cyber crime's reach even further, Symantec said.

In today's world, most malicious internet attacks emanate from such kits, allowing the user to launch various pre-written threats, the security giant said.

Furthermore, updating these attack kits has become increasingly simple, meaning new vulnerabilities can be exploited quicker.

"In the past, hackers had to create their own threats from scratch. This complex process limited the number of attackers to a small pool of highly skilled cyber criminals," said Stephen Trilling, senior vice president at Symantec Security Technology and Response.

"Today's attack toolkits make it relatively easy for even a malicious novice to launch a cyber attack. As a result, we expect to see even more criminal activity in this area and a higher likelihood that the average user will be victimised."

Whilst the availability of these kits has increased, the cost of them has rocketed as well.

Back in 2006, a popular toolkit called WebAttacker sold for $15 a pop, but just last year a Zeus 2.0 kit was going for up to $8,000, Symantec figures revealed.

Zeus kits have proven particularly popular, perhaps unsurprisingly. Hackers have used the Zeus Trojan on numerous occasions to acquire significant funds.

Last year, cyber criminals used Zeus to steal 675,000 from a UK bank between 5 July and 6 August.

The most prevalent attack kits are MPack, Neosploit, ZeuS, Nukesploit P4ck and Phoenix, the security firm said.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.