Jul 13, 2012

Are cross-platform trojans becoming more common?

It seems that I have been seeing more examples of cross-platform malware lately. This was something I though was rare until recently. What has changed? Why are they becoming more common?


Two main things come to mind.  First, like jimlynch said, the desktop/laptop market isn't dominated by PCs the way it used to be.  Now there are a much higher percentage of machines running Mac OS and probably Linux as well  than there was a few years ago.  This makes those non-Windows machines more tempting targets for malware writers, who want to get as much from their efforts as they can.  When only 5% of machines are running a particular OS, it did make a lot of sense to make as much effort as you would to go after 95% of machines.  Another thing is that cross platform use of Java makes it so the same attack vector can be used for multiple operating systems- a malicious Java applet.  Thanks, progress.  It makes sense to me that you would want to get the most bang for your buck whether you are writing legit code or malware.  

It may have something to do with other platforms gaining in popularity. Windows isn't the only game in town. OS X, Linux, iOS and Android have millions of users too. So if you are going to make a trojan, it probably makes more sense (in a twisted way) to make it cross platform. The more machines it's on, the more of a base it has to work from.
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