Hardware providers often utilize anti-piracy controls to keep their products from being copied and sold or used illegally. Virus writers have now taken the concept and applied it to their Trojan offerings.
According the The Register, the newest version of the Zeus Trojan kit utilizes product activation technology similar to that employed by Microsoft Windows. The technology only allows one computer to run the “licensed version.” The most basic version of the kit goes from around $4,000 with additional features running up to $10,000.
“The author has gone to great lengths to protect this version using a Hardware-based Licensing System. The author of Zeus has created a hardware-based licensing system for the Zeus Builder kit that you can only run on one computer,” according to a report published by SecureWorks. “Once you run it, you get a code from the specific computer, and then the author gives you a key just for that computer. This is the first time we have seen this level of control for malware.”
The Trojan is offered in multiple versions, with more sophisticated versions costing more.