Operating in the open since 2009, a bulletproof hosting provider continues offering services for white, grey, and black projects, as they like to describe them, and has been directly contributing to the epidemic growth of cybercrime to the present day through its cybercriminal-friendly services.
From Traffic Distribution Systems (TDS), to doorways, pharmaceutical scams, spam domains and warez, the provider is also utilizing basic marketing concepts like, for instance, promotions through coupon codes in an attempt to attract more customers.
For years, many of the primary and market-share leading ‘malware-infected hosts as a service’ providers have become used to selling exclusive access to hosts from virtually the entire World, excluding the sale and actual infection of Russian and Eastern European based hosts. This sociocultural trend was then disrupted by the Carberp gang, which started targeting Russian and Eastern European users, demonstrating that greed knows no boundaries and which ultimately led Russian and Ukrainian law enforcement to the group.
What’s the probability that Russian/Eastern European cybercriminals will continue targeting their own fellow citizens in an attempt to monetize the access to their PCs in the most efficient and profitable way possible? Huge.
In this post, I’ll profile a recently launched ‘malware-infected hosts as a service’ type of underground market service proposition selling access to Eastern European based hosts, discuss the pricing scheme used, as well as emphasize on the long-term perspective of these services. All during a time where novice cybercriminals have access to sophisticated DIY (do it yourself) malware generating tools.
Everyone knows that there’s no such thing as free lunch. The same goes for freely distributed pirated content online.
Recently, Webroot decided to sample malicious activity within some of the most popular Eastern European torrent trackers, based in Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Romania for starters. The results? Countless backdoored key generators and cracks for popular games and software, and most interestingly, monetization of the huge traffic by delivering pop-ups promoting the ubiquitous W32/Casonline adware, which in case you remember was recently spamvertised to millions of end and corporate users.