Let’s pick up the story circa 2009, with the help of Don Jackson, director of threat intelligence at security start-up PhishLabs, and Loucif Kharouni, researcher at anti-malware firm Trend Micro.
ZeuS is selling for as much as $8,000 to crime gangs expert at hijacking online bank accounts. ZeuS hacks require customized tuning of the attack code, and crews of hackers working in concert to pull off Ocean’s Eleven-like heists.
Along comes SpyEye, a lean and modular banking Trojan selling for around $1,000. “While ZeuS was the infrastructure software for elite cybercrime crew operations, SpyEye became ZeuS for the masses,” says Jackson.