Battle of the botnets breaks out

Insecurity outfit Symantec reckons there's a battle of the botnets going on out there in Websville.

Symantec says the Zeus hack pack has grown over time to be the "most established crimeware toolkit in the underground economy".

But in late December 2009 a new crimeware toolkit emanating from Russia - known as SpyEye V1.0 - started to appear for sale on Russian underground forums.

Symantec reckons the bot is a snip at $500, and it is looking to take a chunk of the Zeus crimeware toolkit market.

Since it is relatively new, web watchers are not seeing a lot of SpyEye activity yet but, Symantec warns, SpyEye could be a future contender for king of the crimeware toolkits.

Not only is it a bit of a naughty bot in its own right, it is also clever enough to better Zeus whenever it comes across it.

A 'Kill Zeus' feature is available during the Trojan build process, but it supposedly goes as far as allowing you to delete Zeus from an infected system, meaning only SpyEye should remain running on the compromised system.

"If the use of SpyEye takes off, it could dent Zeus bot herds and lead to retaliation from the creators of the Zeus crimeware toolkit. This, in turn, could lead to another bot war such as we have seen in the past with Beagle, Netsky, and Mydoom," Symantec's own prophets [profits] of doom warn.