Media releases are provided as is by companies and have not been edited or checked for accuracy. Any queries should be directed to the company itself.
  • 11 February 2013 15:38

New AVG Technologies Threat Report reveals pre-teen children developing malicious code

AVG Technologies' Q4 2012 Community Powered Threat Report investigates a number of malicious software developments, including the case of a Trojan developed by an 11-year-old child to steal game login information.

Pre-teens turning to malware?

In a world filled with laptops, tablets and smartphones, today’s children become digitally fluent far earlier than previous generations. Now, AVG has found evidence that pre-teens are writing malware designed to steal login details from online gamers, both young and old.

While stealing someone’s game logins may at first seem a minor problem, online gaming accounts are often connected to credit card details to enable in-game purchases, and may also have virtual currency attached to them amounting to hundreds of dollars. Furthermore, many gamers unfortunately use the same login details for social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, potentially putting the victim at risk of cyber-bullying, in addition to identity theft and major inconvenience.

“We have now seen a number of examples of very young individuals writing malware, including an 11-year-old from Canada,” said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, Chief Technology Officer at AVG Technologies. “The code usually takes the form of a basic Trojan written using the .NET framework, which is easy to learn for beginners and simple to deploy via a link in an email or posted on a social media page.

“We believe these junior programmers are motivated mainly by the thrill of outwitting their peers, rather than financial gain, but it is nevertheless a disturbing and increasing trend. It is also logical to assume that at least some of those responsible will be tempted to experiment with much more serious cyber-crimes.” (Find more information on page 19 of the report).

Mobile threats continue to rise

The Q4 Threat Report also highlights the dramatic and ongoing increase in mobile malware, particularly of code designed to target Google’s hugely popular Android operating system. During the course of 2012, AVG Threat Labs reported on the First Android Rootkit, examples of mobile banking being targeted for attack, malicious apps that send text messages to premium rate services, and Trojan-infected versions of popular games on unofficial app stores, including bestseller Angry Birds Space.

Mobile threats also feature in the Threat Report’s predictions for 2013, notably in the form of increased MITMO (Man-In-The-Mobile) attacks that target PC and mobile Internet banking apps. Such threats might benefit from the growing BYOD trend, where workers connect their personal mobile devices to company networks.

Continued exploitation

Alongside the rise in mobile malware, the Threat Labs found exploit toolkits continue to dominate when it comes to online threats. Almost 60 per cent of all threat activity online was performed by exploit toolkits in 2012. The use of such kits is believed to be the result of established cyber-criminals realising that they can create and sell commercial toolkits at a premium to less technically savvy peers eager to get into the market. One example of a new exploit toolkit which emerged during the last quarter of 2012, and bore a remarkable resemblance to the Blackhole Exploit Kit, was the Cool Toolkit. This new toolkit accounted for 16 per cent of the top web threats in Q4 2012, topped only by Blackhole at 40 per cent.

About the report:

The AVG Community Protection Network is an online neighborhood watch, where community members work to protect each other. Information about the latest threats is collected from customers who participate in the product improvement program and shared with the community to make sure everyone receives the best possible protection.

The AVG Community Powered Threat Report is based on the Community Protection Network traffic and data collected from participating AVG users over a three-month period, followed by analysis by AVG. It provides an overview of web, mobile devices, spam risks and threats. All statistics referenced are obtained from the AVG Community Protection Network.

AVG has focused on building communities that help millions of online participants support each other on computer security issues and actively contribute to AVG’s research efforts.

# # #

About AVG —

AVG Technologies’ mission is to simplify, optimise and secure the Internet experience, providing peace of mind to a connected world. AVG’s powerful yet easy-to-use software and online services put users in control of their Internet experience. By choosing AVG’s software and services, users become part of a trusted global community that benefits from inherent network effects, mutual protection and support. AVG has grown its user base to 143 million active users as of September 30, 2012 and offers a product portfolio that targets the consumer and small business markets and includes Internet security, PC performance optimisation, online backup, mobile security and identity protection.

AVG Media Contacts:

Michael McKinnon AVG 03 9581 0845

Shuna Boyd BoydPR 02 9418 8100

Submit a media release

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres


View all events Submit your own security event

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Media Release

More media release

Market Place