Configuring Zeus: A case study of online crime target selection and knowledge transmission
Abstract—Zeus is a well-known and effective family of ‘man-in-the-browser’ malware. This qualitative case study analyses posts in online cybercrime forums that discuss Zeus configuration. Online cybercriminals were found to share, sell, steal, and trade configuration files. The discussions and advertisements on the forums, which span four years, were found to evolve with market conditions and externalities, including Zeus being offered as a subscription service. The release of tools to decrypt configuration files by security researchers was also closely followed on the forums, and assisted offenders when it came to stealing configuration files from others.