Shopping for malware: $260 gets you a password stealer. $90 for a crypto-miner...

We take a look at low, low subscription prices – not that we want to give anyone any ideas


A Tor-hidden website dubbed the Eternity Project is offering a toolkit of malware, including ransomware, worms, and – coming soon – distributed denial-of-service programs, at low prices.

According to researchers at cyber-intelligence outfit Cyble, the Eternity site's operators also have a channel on Telegram, where they provide videos detailing features and functions of the Windows malware. Once bought, it's up to the buyer how victims' computers are infected; we'll leave that to your imagination.

The Telegram channel has about 500 subscribers, Team Cyble documented this week. Once someone decides to purchase of one or more of Eternity's malware components, they have the option to customize the final binary executable for whatever crimes they want to commit.

"Interestingly, individuals who purchase the malware can utilize the Telegram Bot to build the binary," the researchers wrote. "The [threat actors] provide an option in the Telegram channel to customize the binary features, which provides an effective way to build binaries without any dependencies."

Malware sales and subscriptions are alive and well in the cybercriminal world, with popular malware types – from ransomware to DDoS and phishing programs, as illustrated by the detection of the Frappo phishing-as-a-service tool late last month – being peddled by developers. Some miscreants also are offering paths into compromised networks via stolen credentials or direct access.

With malware-as-a-service, the programmer has various opportunities to make money from their work. They can use their malware themselves to bag ill-gotten gains; bring in cash by leasing or selling the code; and charge for support and related services. At the same time, crooks who don't have the skills or time to develop their own malicious code can simply buy it from someone else.

"It's not talked about that commonly, but it's also not a surprise," Casey Ellis, founder and CTO of cybersecurity firm Bugcrowd, told The Register.

"This is one of many examples of a criminal enterprise taking cues from technology companies and business growth and increasing their customer value through feature flexibility and SaaS-like business models."

Budget prices

The list of malware that can be bought from the Eternity Project is extensive. For a $260 annual subscription, they can buy the Eternity Stealer, which can snaffle passwords, cookies, credit cards and cryptocurrency wallets from a victim's infected PC and send the info to a Telegram Bot. It can attack more than 20 kinds of browser, including Chrome, Edge and Firefox, plus password managers, VPN and FTP clients, gaming software, email clients, and messengers.

The Eternity Stealer exemplifies why individuals need to be aggressive in protecting their systems, according to Ron Bradley, vice president of third-party risk management vendor Shared Assessments.

"Web browsers and other tools not purpose-built for identity and password management are akin to using an umbrella in a hurricane," Bradley told The Register.

"The days of being cyber-complacent are over. Find and use a good password manager. Pay for the premium versions, which cost less than a cup of coffee and a bagel for a one-year subscription."

The Eternity Miner, which sells for $90 for an annual subscription and is used to siphon resources from compromised systems to mine for cryptocurrency, delivers the ability to hide from the computer's Task Manager, and to automatically restart it when it's been killed. Another cryptomining tool, the Eternity Clipper, is available for $110 and is used to monitor the clipboard of an infected system for mentions of cryptocurrency wallets and replace them with the fraudster's crypto-wallet addresses.

The ransomware can be had for $490 and not only can encrypt all data – documents, photos, and databases – but also can do so offline as it doesn't require a network connection. It uses AES and RSA encryption algorithm, and includes the option of a time limit for paying the ransom.

"If victims fail to pay the ransom within the time limit, the encrypted files can't be decrypted," the Cyble researchers wrote. "This is set as a default feature while compiling a ransomware binary."

There also is worm malware for $390 that spreads from system to system via USB and cloud drives, infected files, and network shares, and will send Telegram and Discord spam messages to channels and contacts to fool people into also downloading and running the thing. The DDoS bot is still being built, according to Cyble.

"We suspect the developer behind the Eternity project is leveraging code from the existing GitHub repository and then modifying and selling it under a new name," they wrote. "Our analysis also indicated that the Jester Stealer could also be rebranded from this particular Github project, which indicates some links between the two threat actors."

They also said they have seen a significant uptick in cybercrime on Telegram channels and dark-web forums. That doesn't surprise John Bambenek, principle threat hunter for cybersecurity vendor Netenrich.

"Threat actors have been shifting to Telegram channels," Bambenek told The Register.

"While it's new that you can use a Telegram bot to build or acquire commodity malware, it is just the latest path to market for commodity and low-end malware for the script kiddie crowd. From the prices they are charging, I wouldn't expect to see this often in enterprise attacks, but certainly attacks against consumers and SMBs who lack the tools to protect themselves from even basic threats would be the most frequent victims of these tools." ®

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading
  • Big Tech loves talking up privacy – while trying to kill privacy legislation
    Study claims Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft work to derail data rules

    Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft often support privacy in public statements, but behind the scenes they've been working through some common organizations to weaken or kill privacy legislation in US states.

    That's according to a report this week from news non-profit The Markup, which said the corporations hire lobbyists from the same few groups and law firms to defang or drown state privacy bills.

    The report examined 31 states when state legislatures were considering privacy legislation and identified 445 lobbyists and lobbying firms working on behalf of Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft, along with industry groups like TechNet and the State Privacy and Security Coalition.

    Continue reading
  • SEC probes Musk for not properly disclosing Twitter stake
    Meanwhile, social network's board rejects resignation of one its directors

    America's financial watchdog is investigating whether Elon Musk adequately disclosed his purchase of Twitter shares last month, just as his bid to take over the social media company hangs in the balance. 

    A letter [PDF] from the SEC addressed to the tech billionaire said he "[did] not appear" to have filed the proper form detailing his 9.2 percent stake in Twitter "required 10 days from the date of acquisition," and asked him to provide more information. Musk's shares made him one of Twitter's largest shareholders. The letter is dated April 4, and was shared this week by the regulator.

    Musk quickly moved to try and buy the whole company outright in a deal initially worth over $44 billion. Musk sold a chunk of his shares in Tesla worth $8.4 billion and bagged another $7.14 billion from investors to help finance the $21 billion he promised to put forward for the deal. The remaining $25.5 billion bill was secured via debt financing by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, and others. But the takeover is not going smoothly.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022