In addition to the dangerous and lucrative activities of professional cybercriminals, there are also risks from some petty forms of cyber-theft.
The reasons behind petty theft
Following the emergence of Internet services – including mail, web, and hosting services – members of the ‘computer underground’ looked for ways to benefit from these services, without having to pay for them. These petty criminals used specially developed Trojans , in order to steal a legitimate user’s login and password – or to steal several logins and passwords from several infected computers.
Originally, many of these Trojans were written by young people that couldn’t afford to pay for Internet services:
1997 saw the spread of Trojans designed to steal AOL passwords.
In 1998, Trojans of this kind started to affect other Internet services.
In later years – with reductions in the cost of Internet services – this type of activity started to decrease.
Today’s petty theft threats
Despite the lower cost of Internet services, Trojans that steal the passwords for dial-up, AOL, and ICQ – plus access codes for other services – still represent a considerable part of the everyday inflow of cyber threats that are handled by antivirus labs. However, there are also some additional forms of petty theft:
Thieves are creating other types of Trojans – that steal account information and key files of various program products and resources from infected computers, for the benefit of the thief.
In recent years, there has also been a constant increase in the number of Trojans that steal personal information from network games (gaming ‘virtual property’), for unauthorized use or resale.
How to protect yourself against petty theft
Anti-malware solutions that combine signature-based detection, proactive heuristic analysis, and cloud-assisted technologies can help to secure your devices and data against both recognized Trojans and new or emerging cyber threats.
Kaspersky Lab offers multi-layer anti-malware products – that combine powerful technologies running on your device, plus cloud-assisted services – to deliver improved protection for: