Going Where the Money Is
Despite the long tradition behind spyware’s impressive evolutionary path, with new infection vectors being invented all the time, the monetization venues for this shady business have remained unchanged for a surprisingly long time. The basic strategies employed by Malware usually are either throw loads of pop ups at the unsuspecting users or use the computers infected with Malware to send spam e-mail like there is no tomorrow. This area too however is about the change.
Goodbye Pop-ups! Welcome Advertising!
The problem with pop ups and spam, from a spyware creator viewpoint is the fact that they don’t convert to money very well. These guys rely on astronomical figures to make even small amounts of money. For example if every 1 in 1000 spam e-mails they send gets them an order, they are in spyware heaven, a rate of 1 e-mail in every 10,000 is probably a much more accurate figure on how well these spam e-mails actually convert. With pop ups the story is extremely similar.
This however is about to change. A recent Trojan found in the wild tries something else. It tries legitimate advertising. This spyware program replaces Google Adsense ads with ads of its own. With these ads properly integrated in some of the most serious web-sites out there they are truly in business. So far this Trojan only has a limited spread, but the amount of income generated by it is probably comparable if not higher than the big mal-ware programs out there, as the conversion ratio probably is much higher.
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