Reports from security provider MessageLabs suggest that virus writers are highly likely to release increasingly sophisticated strains of malware over the course of next year in an effort to get back in to the game after some high-profile botnet shutdown operations in 2008.
The organisation predicts that hackers will set off a series of attacks in which malware will exists as a virtualization layer running directly on the hardware and hidden by the operating system.
Senior analyst Paul Wood from Message Labs explained further: “The operating system does not know it’s there, and the malware will be intercepting low-level operating system calls.”
“The problem will be in realizing it’s there and understanding how to clean up, because it’s so low-level and tangled up in the operating system that sometimes the only recourse is to reinstall the machine from scratch.”
He believes that cyber criminals will concentrate of infecting systems with sophisticated malware that can switch between different tasks as appropriate. He gives the example that if a piece if malware determines that the spam it is sending out is being blocked, it could then be told to launch denial-of-service attacks instead.