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[Table] IAMA Malware Developer. AMAA

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Date: 2012-04-12
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Have you ever been infected with malware, if so, how did you react? What should one do to avoid getting malware? Haha yeah I have been infected a few times, it is frusterating but most antivirus softwares do the trick unless you are infected with some undetectable malware. I always check hijack this and my outgoing connections a few times a week to make sure nothing suspicious is going on. To not get malware my best advise would be to not download cracked programs through torrents or warez sites. These are popular ways to spread malware. If you want to use pirated software run a keygen through sandboxie and use the legit installer. To avoid script exploits I recommend using a script blocking plugin such as noscripts for chrome or NoScript for firefox. Many ads are becoming ways to spread malware, you have to always be on the lookout.
How long does it take you to create the things you do? How did you learn to do it? How "good" are you at what you do and how long would it take, for instance, me (with no experience in programing whatsoever) to be at your level of goodness? It takes me about 1 month to create something from scratch that is of good quality. I learned it by teaching myself and looking at sources. It depends on how dedicated and of course how smart you are, but if you are intelligent you could probably learn in a year or two.
What's your testing process like - do you write unit tests? Do you test in various VMs and configurations to make sure it works? Do you have other developers to review your work? As far as the testing process goes, I test on 32 bit and 64 bit systems from xp to windows 7 to make sure all the functions work. Most of my programs are very different to each other, sometimes I make it hide in other running programs, sometimes it just sits in the open but is difficult to remove.
What are the most common, functional requirements that you apply to any malware (for example, must not show up in task manager)? What are the most common features that attract buyers for your products? What's the most common 'entry point' for an exploit of yours? (Examples: user downloads a crack, or user leaves firewall disabled, or user clicks on a link, or user connected to unsecure wifi)? People generally buy my product for stability and long lasting undetection so that it takes a while before most people realize they are infected. There are other features that are less important because they are found in many common malware programs.
What do you tell people you do for work in order to avoid being punched in the throat if you told them the truth? I just tell them I sell crack.
Can you, like, please stop? For you, thatgamerguy, anything.
Is it true that Macs are mostly safe from stuff like this? Macs and *nix systems are mostly safe because they aren't as widely used as windows, although they have just as many security flaws.
Can you speak to the programmers in the crowd as to what methodologies and strategies you use? As a c/c++ programmer of many years myself, I'm curious how you do what you do. How did you learn? Where might others learn? This fascinates me. For making things hard to delete my current method is to inject code into every process and hook the apis to delete and end processes. This prevents it from being deleted. If someone does manage to bypass the hook the injected code will just rewrite the malware to the disk. As far as networking, all you need to know is reverse socket connections with TCP. Check opensc.ws for more info about this stuff. That is the best site to learn at right now imo.
So, most redditors are very well informed with the internet/torrents/coding/engineering/blah blah blah/kittehs. Do you think your malware has infected anyone on this site? To expand, do you think the use of your malware is essentially easily avoidable to those who understand the internet gods? Could you explain any reasoning you could think of for why others would buy then implement your malware? And last but not least: ARE YOU MAGICALLY INFECTING MY COMPUTER RIGHT NOW?? WIZARD PROGRAMMER. Well I can't say for certain but probably it has infected people on this site purely because its so big. My job isn't to make it easy to infect people, just easy to hide on the computer. So if someone has some good exploits and can make the malware undetected then it is hard to know for certain if you are infected or not.
Mystic being of untold dark force, how might we convince you to use your powers for good? After I graduate I plan on work for a computer security company. As a college student I can't do much now.
Would you tell the security company that you used to develop malware? Lol nope.
How much money do the people make that buy your software? What prevents people from uploading your software to torrent sites or reselling it? My software generally has anti-crack protection on it so I can license it to a specific computer. People that use my software make varying amounts depending on what they use it for. I talked to someone that uses it to mine bitcoins with 50-100k bots, he makes about 20k a month.
Why do people pay so much to mess up other people's computers? I really don't know much about malware other then that it is bad... Did you get put on an FBI watch list or did they follow you around in a dark van? The people that buy my software make much more money from using it than I do selling it.
If your programs are supposed to work as part of a bigger whole, is there some sort of standard architecture your program specifically works under? Are the methods and ways of calling those methods meet some hacker standard, or do you publish an API with your script and just assume whoever uses your stuff is tech savvy enough to figure out everything they need to know? Could they easily read your code to see what you're doing or do you only send a binary/executable? Have you been surprised by any aspects of the industry you're taking part in? Does one segment seem a lot larger than you anticipated or did you come across a particular hacking technique you thought was rather interesting/inventive? I'm thinking on the level of channeling all the fractional pennies lost on rapid transactions to a bank account as being an interesting tactic... Do you individually sell/commission your programs or is there an equivalent to Amazon for such code? Where do you go to read news? I am sort of confused on this question. I am always surprised when people release good sophisticated malware which uses new methods to hide itself from the computer user. I never expected there would be such a huge supply of script kiddies who will buy software and barely know how to use it, only to hit someone offline on xbox live or something. I generally have someone else do the selling and finishing touches on my programs. I split some money with him.
Thanks for doing this AMA. Fuck all of the judgmental redditors. People don't offer to do IAMA's so that they can get bitched at by people on the internet. IAMA's are intended to give you an insight to a lifestyle that is not your own, so don't judge him for his choices. What OS do you do most of your programming on? When you're not programming, what OS do you use. What form of currency do you typically accept? Bitcoin? Do you use any recreational drugs? If so, do you obtain any of your drugs online? I use windows 7 64-bit to program on, and also use it for just regular usage. I accept bitcoins, Liberty Reserve, and Webmoney. I have done a lot of drugs but mainly I smoke bud, drop acid and do painkillers. I assume you are asking because of sites like silkroad? I have ordered off silkroad once but I get the same quality bud from my dealer so i didn't go back.
I have used the Silkroad, but I'm a member of a couple of private forums that give me access to much better stuff for cheaper. Do you use PGP encryption when communicating with your customers? My business partner actually is the one who dealers with the customers, but he does use it.
Got it. As long as you get paid, you could give a shit about the problems you cause for people. So, have you been a sociopath all your life or is this more recent? Well really I am not directly causing a problem to anyone because I don't use my own software. If I wasn't doing it someone else would just step in. Besides my programs don't steal credit card information and the like so the only real damage would be adware and posible dos attacks originating from your computer.
So you sort of make the bomb and let other people detonate it? So then its not your fault? Not trying to be accusatory, just wondering. Yeah and by that logic the people that sell others guns are just as involved as the people that use guns to kill people. I know what I am doing is technically morally wrong, and I will stop within a few months once I can find a job again.
Ever considered joining the good side? Getting a job at a anitivirus firm and using your knowledge about making malware to create software to prevent it? I would imagine that a knowledge like yours would be very useful for a antivirus software firm :) I plan on getting into computer security. As a college student coding malware is really one of the only ways I can make good money programming.
How "good" is your work? Will an anti-virus like achieve stop you? How wide spread is it. No, most of my programs are completely undetected until I stop making updates to it.
I'd ask for proof, but then I think that'd be a really silly thing to do. Have you written malware that functions on Linux? Besides the not stealing credit card information, what are your other ethical lines? I don't actually use my own software so I guess if that counts as an ethical line... I don't write malware for anything besides windows as its the most used operating system. If more people used mac and linux there would be as many viruses for those as there are for windows.
Have you ever been infected with your own malware? Yeah when I was testing without a VM (stupidly). Luckily I know how to remove programs I write myself...
, thank you for doing this AMA. Secondly, for most us out there who have loaded out with AV software and things like NoScript and Adblocker and such tell me, what behaviors or kinds of outgoing connections should we look for on our routers or scanners that might indicate infection? Its better to look at the process thats sending the outgoing connection, if its located in something like application data and has a startup entry, its probably malware.
Could you give me some examples on how to check this? I am always trying to expand my knowledge of these matters. Well the best way I know how to do it is with code, if you are interested in that I could send it to you. Otherwise use wireshark and process explorer or something.
Is the Free Anti-Virus/Spywear called AVG actually any good? Or do Malware programmers know that ALOT of people all over the world have it so create the malware so AVG etc will not discover it? Cheers. Most people create malware to make it undetected. Unless something is in the wild for a while most AVs will not detect it if its professionally coded.
As far as providing, I'm not necessarily sure how the law would work there. I can say with decent certainty that you're breaking tax laws though, I strongly doubt you're claiming your sales as income. That being said, I don't think you're scum. I was in the same place as you when I was a kid, and I did it solely because I wanted to say I could. It was less about causing harm and more about trying to learn. It just so happens that things like malware, especially that which allows remote intrusion, is very interesting. I was also heavily involved in the piracy scene, and major busts in 2001-2002 caused me to back out of it entirely. You mention the FBI, any reason why that didn't "scare you straight" so to speak? They only wanted information on an aquantince, I didn't give anything out and lawyered up. It did scare me long enough to stop for a year and pick a new nickname online to go by and also buy some vpns to gain some extra anonymity online. I don't think people that don't understand technology much truly get why it would be interesting to do stuff like this. Learning how to do it is a huge part, selling it is only secondary.
Do dark side developers these days ever just fuck around and make malware that wipes hard drives and stuff for fun? Not since the early 90's have I come across a story of anyone's hard drive getting wiped due to a virus etc. Most people are just focused on the money now. Also the new windows operatings systems have much better security so you can't easily get the rights to wipe a drive anyway.
I've made a virus in college when we were studying the Network Security topic. The professor of course didn't want to try it but asked me to explain exactly what I did. Anyway, one of the girls in my class asked for the code to duplicate it, modify it a little and claim she did the homework as well. So I gave her the source code as a help and when she "Run" it in on her machine it ruined many applications. Question to OP, do you have any similar stories like this? TL;DR: my college friend was screwed by my virus, OP do you have similar stories? Haha when I first started writing code in windows xp i fucked up my friends computer enough to force him to reformat.
How long does the process of scripting, and then finding people to sell to take? I would imagine this kind of thing takes many hours if not days, and what kind of skills do you need to have to be a malware developer such as yourself? I answered this before, but usually about a month for something of high quality. Depends on how much time I spend on it though. To develop malware you need to be an experienced coder, with knowlege of windows apis, memory manipulation, and networking.
Do you write polymorphic code ? I do not write polymorphic code because it would take much longer to develop.
What other hiding techniques do you know/apply other then encryption ? By hiding what do you mean? Injecting into memory is a popular way to hide running applications.
How many lines of code is a typical malware program from you? 5000-10000.
Is the malware all selfcontained or do you use 3rd party libraries? I don't use 3rd party libraries to cut down on exe size.
What's your largest botnet? How many bots? Which software would you use for monitoring incoming/outgoing port data? What languages do you code in? Which do you recommend learning for the future? No problem. I haven't run a botnet in over 3 years, but i had one of 10k at a time. There are many good vpns, nvpn, vip72 etc, just find one that doesn't log. Use wireshark or commview to monitor connections and processes. The use process explorer to look at the suspicious process. I code in C/C++ now, I started with Delphi but you could start with Java or anything really.
Do you feel a slight guilt from making your money via questionable sources? And how have you not been tracked down? Sort of I guess, i do feel a little bad that people use my software to infect other peoples computers, but it is not directly meant to harm the computer and steal information. I haven't been tracked down because I do my best to remain anonymous online through either a vpn or proxy.
You're being asked to zombify Linux desktops. What is your point of entry and how do you make it stick around? I am not expert on Linux, but the best way I suppose would be via an exploit. Once you have root control you could install a rootkit.
Hello there, nice AMA ! :-) 1. You said how much money you get per program already, but is that price fixed, or depends from the abilities of the program each time ? 2. Do you get follow-up money for the updates, or when you sell the product you don't touch it again ? 3. What do you consider as your ? Is there anything you have done and leaves you with a big-fat smile on your face every time you are thinking of it, and say "damn, I'm awesome." ? Well it depends on the abilities of the program and how much time I put into it. I do make some money from updates but usually most of the money is made within the first month. My best work was a P2P Bot which I modeled after khamedlia p2p protocol. I never sold this but I was pretty happy I figured out how to do it.
Can you talk about yourself in the real life? Do you meet the image of a computer hackemalware developer(like a neckbeard), or are you socially adept and have friends? How do you handle transactions? Like, how do you not get scammed by people buying malware? I am not socially akward, I have somewhat of a social life and have a good amount of friends. I work with a friend who handles all the transactions and also does some programming work, I get paid through him. The software can be disabled when people scam.
How do disable it.Does the binary listen to for constant external connection so if people scam you,disable it and please PM me the links. It checks through a database to see if its a verified user or not. What do you want me to PM you?
Any reason why not Bitcoins? Not really, its just a preference thing.
You make about 30K USD per program? And it takes you about a month to write a program? How many buyers do you get per program? Is this like 1K licensing fee for each of 30 customers, or more like $100 for each of 300 customers? Its more like $100 each for 300 customers.
If I sit down to a computer that is likely infected (ie run by a noob who downloads everything and has six toolbars on IE) should I assume that it is unsafe to type any passwords, etc on it? I wouldn't recommend using an infected computer at all, there is no way of knowing what type(s) of malware is installed on that system.
I bet those paid virus protection guys(like norton etc) knock on ur door to make a malware thingy, and the give them the "cure" so they can be the fastest with an update against it?! This doesn't happen as far as I know.
Do you feel any guilt that you do something that adds no value to society? I mean, a crack dealer at least provides a service to people... They get high. How is getting a high a value to soceity?
THAT EXPLAINS EVERYTHING. LET ME GUESS YOU EAT BABIES TOO? Only toasted ones.
Are you independent -- not employed by or affiliated with some larger organization? Aren't you more afraid of your customers and competitors than of law enforcement? Do you use anonymity tech such as Tor or VPN to protect yourself from all of the above? Yes, I use a vpn constantly.
When you sell malware, are you selling the source code, or just the tools to deploy/control it? Just the compiled binaries.
So basically you make malware so companies make and sell softwares to protect against new ones and is a never ending but profitable cycle? Pretty much, not that it justifies using malware but it is true that anti-virus companies probably profit more than I do.
How do you sleep at night? With a temper pedic
"Don't bother calling me a scumbag because I geniunely don't care." There you have it, why the world is a mess. I didn't make a thead so people could call me morally corrupt. When I say I don't care, I meant that I don't care if you call me a scumbag or not. I do feel bad for the people that get infected with my malware, but it really does not cause that much harm to the computer. It is up to the person who installs it whether he steals information or damages the computer or not.
I'll tell you point 1: Delphi, because every lamescriptkiddieforums have tutorials on writing uberundetectablesupertrojan. In delphi, of course. Actually thats right, I started with Delphi because it was easy to learn with, but moved to C/C++ later.
Bots are the easiest to code, but it takes time depending on the amount of features and undetectability.
Reverse connection is just an easy way to control bots, bots connect back to a master client which can issue commands. I don't program bots like this anymore, but many people still buy this kind of stuff.
I get paid via wmz and LR which I can then transfer to my own bank account if I want.
I use chrome and my desktop wallpaper is just a bunch of rainbow colored smoke lol.
Reddit has this fail safe the if you type in your social security number it only displays asterisks. It does the same for email. Watch: ***-**-****, ******@**********.com. Heres my cell phone number: 202-456-1414.
I got into it from the cheating scene in video games. I just thought this sort of stuff was very interesting, it took me a while before I started selling it, I used to give it all out for free. I will PM you a few sites I don't want to post here. People asking for a site, try opensc.ws.
Last updated: 2012-04-13 02:31 UTC | Next update: 2012-04-13 03:31 UTC
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