Good news: Oracle says the next major version of its Java software will no longer plug directly into the user’s Web browser. This long overdue step should cut down dramatically on the number of computers infected with malicious software via opportunistic, so-called “drive-by” download attacks that exploit outdated Java plugins across countless browsers and multiple operating systems.
A new crimeware kit for sale on the criminal underground makes it a simple point-and-click exercise to develop malicious software designed to turn Mac OSX computers into bots. According to the vendor of this kit, it is somewhat interchangeable with existing crimeware kits made to attack Windows-based PCs.
Not long ago, there were only a handful of serious so-called “exploit packs,” crimeware packages that make it easy for hackers to booby-trap Web sites with code that installs malicious software. These days, however, it seems like we’re hearing about a new custom exploit kit every week. Part of the reason for this may be that more enterprising hackers are seeing the moneymaking potential of these offerings, which range from a few hundred dollars per kit to upwards of $10,000 per installation — depending on the features and plugins requested.