Malware gets a EULA

The criminals who sell the Zeus malware have added an end-user license agreement to their "product," setting out a bunch of terms controlling how the criminals who buy their products may use it, and threatening dire technological reprisals for violations:
Symantec security researcher Liam OMurchu has details on this latest development. The help section of the latest version of the Zeus malware states that the client has no right to distribute Zeus in any business or commercial purpose not connected to the initial sale, cannot examine the source code of the product, has no right to use the product to control other botnets, and cannot send the product to anti-virus companies. The client does agree to "give the seller a fee for any update to the product that is not connected with errors in the work, as well as for adding additional functionality." Modern license agreements take a great deal of (deserved) fire for being absurdly draconian, but even the likes of Adobe and Microsoft don't claim that purchasing a version of their respective products locks the user into buying future editions.

It's obviously difficult for the manufacturers of an illegal product to threaten legal sanctions against an infringer, but the Zeus authors give it their best shot. According to the EULA, "In cases of violations of the agreement and being detected, the client loses any technical support. Moreover, the binary code of your bot will be immediately sent to antivirus companies." Frankly, "We'll blow your kneecaps off and feed them to you," might be a bit more effective as a threat, but I suppose it's a bit hard to carry out that threat over the Internet.

Link (via /.)


  1. The whole business of these damn EULAs is absolutely insane anyway. Really, this is no crazier than the so-called legit ones.

    It’s kind of perfect, in a bizarro universe kind of way, really…

  2. Come to think of it, I’ve run into people who really think like this. This is the way a cluster-b personality disordered person reasons.

    /me shudders.

  3. Criminals licensing criminal software to each other. Violation will incur the wrath of an underworld lawyer in an underworld court overseen by the uber underworld judge.

  4. That’s nothing. You should see the EULA my dealer made me sign last time I bought Heroin (v1.0) from him!
    “In the event that Heroin becomes your drug interface of choice, the user agrees that all future “licenses” will be purchased at double the original cost directly from Big Louie Drug Tech Solutions LLP.”

  5. Great chutzpah! Right up there with the kid who kills his parents asking for leniency because he’s a ‘poor orphan boy.’

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