Internet researchers discover new hacking service site

29. Oktober 2007
Security researchers studying the latest Internet crime trends have discovered a new Eastern European website that uses a large botnet to infect vulnerable PCs. The operators of the botnet and website charge clients for each successful PC infection.

The site is likely based out of Russia, according to the security researcher's sources who asked to remain anonymous because of their underground intelligence work. While the front-end website, called loads.cc, doesn't appear to contain or deliver malware, readers are strongly urged to avoid visiting the site in case malware is present and because the site likely logs the IP addresses of its visitors. (The ".cc" Internet domain is assigned to the Australian territories of the Cocos and Keeling Islands.)

The sources discovered the site while performing forensics on some servers known to host malware. They say that, when last checked, loads.cc was still in operation.

A view of the loads.cc homepage, provided by researchers.

This service is another example of a service-based hacking product, similar to others recently reported here, that opens up Internet crime to less technically proficient criminals. Rather than compete with some of the other services, it actually complements them.

Whoever is running loads.cc controls a botnet that may include up to several million PCs in its network, according to the sources. The operator of the site provides real-time information on the size and availability of the botnet. The site operator charges clients for using the botnet to infect computers with whatever malware the customer chooses. The going rate at the time of its discovery was about 20 cents per "load," or per successful injection into a vulnerable PC.

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