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Hacker Kit Use Surges, Means More Malicious Sites

About 1 in every 6 sites set up by criminals to steal information is created with hacking-for-dummies-style "toolkits," a security researcher said Tuesday.

"About 15 percent of malicious sites designed to steal information have kit code or a derivation of kit code," said Dan Hubbard, the vice president of security research at San Diego-based Websense.

Although Websense only began counting sites that use code from a toolkit late last year, the ratio is a major uptick, added Hubbard. Near the end of 2005, only 5 percent of the sites in a smaller sampling were using kit code.

"They also don't appear to be selling just kits," he said. "They also sell services. They'll infect Web sites for you, collect data for you. I call it a 'managed insecurity service.'"

The most popular hacker toolkits are made and sold by Russian entrepreneurs, and include the well-known "WebAttacker" and the less-familiar "Nuclear Grabber" (aka "Haxdoor"). They range in price from $25 to over $2,500.

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