Many malware attacks are so sophisticated, that they even include protective capabilities for source code to ensure it is not used by other authors.  These techniques also create difficulties for security vendors as they attempt to research the underlying functionality of malware.

Malware Writers – Using Copy Protection Techniques

QUOTE: Malware writers are lifting anti-piracy technology embedded in some of the world’s most popular software to protect their own work, according to Symantec. The antivirus company said writers of complex malware toolkits can embed measures to prevent users from stealing their work. “They are using the same Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology as major software,” said Craig Scroggie, managing director of Symantec Pacific. “They will build their own DRM, steal it from the big names or cobble it together.”

Most would-be buyers of the toolkits lack the technical understanding to reverse-engineer the DRM measures. The price of a malware toolkit has risen substantially, Scroggie said, from about $15 in 2006 to more than $8000 today. “The premium is because of the success rate,” Scroggie said.