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The Top Three Malware-Based Threats To Small And Midsize Businesses

SMBs wrestle to handle Zeus Attacks, website infections, and business-logic vulnerabilities

1. Zeus Attack Tool Kit
Preconstructed attack software, such as the dreaded Zeus toolkit, has revolutionized the cybercrime “industry,” experts say.

“Attack toolkits have lowered the bar so that anybody with even a limited amount of technical skills can get in the game — and [these toolkits are] certainly driving the vast amount of malware that we’re seeing today,” says Kevin Haley, director of Symantec Security Technology and Response.

No kit has caused as much damage as the Zeus toolkit, says Chet Wisiniewski, senior security adviser at Sophos, who says Zeus-based attacks have been one of the biggest threats to small businesses during the past two years. That threat is only going to get larger now that the source code to this kit was leaked, effectively turning it from a crimeware package costing $400 to $5000 into a freeware offering.

2. Serving Up Malware
As hacking-for-profit has evolved during the past few years, criminals have learned that SMBs are not only great victims of fraud — they’re also perfect partners in crime. Not to their knowledge, of course.

“One of the things hackers want to do is have more bots in their network to use those PCs for their needs,” says David Koretz, CEO of Mykonos Software. “But it takes a long time to infect computers one by one. It’s a lot faster if you can take over someone’s website that gets a bunch of traffic and use that as a tool to distribute malware. So a lot of e-commerce companies and small businesses are becoming malware distribution points unknowingly.”

These small business sites — unknowingly moonlighting as malware distributors — are usually infected through SQL injection attacks, says Wisiniewski.

3. Business Logic Flaws
While Web code vulnerabilities can help crooks infect an SMB site, flaws in Web applications meant for commerce can give criminals a way to steal products.

According to Koretz, such attacks happen all the time. In some cases, Mykonos has discovered flaws in the way customers’ Web applications accept orders that would allow hackers to send tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of orders without ever paying for them.

“If I were a small business, the priority I would be most concerned about is thinking about what happens when I unknowingly didn’t secure my website — and my e-commerce site is leaking out revenue,” Koretz says. “By the time I realize it, I’m out of business.” In today’s business environment, SMBs might experience compromises before ever realizing it because so many online retailers depend on partners to do their order fulfillment.

“Assume for a second that you’ve got an e-commerce site where you manage fulfillment — if you see a huge order come in and you don’t validate the payment, you don’t ship it,” Koretz explains. “But all of a sudden, if you take away that variable where you’re no longer controlling the shipping, you could ship out a quarter of a million dollars before you know it.”

Source: Dark Reading