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11/7/2012
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Russia's Bargain-Basement Cybercrime

How much does it cost to infect 1,000 machines with malware? Russian services will do it for as little as $12

It sounds a little bit like one of those ads on late-night television: Email spamming -- 1 million messages for $10! Malware downloads -- as little as 1,000 downloads for $12! DDoS any website -- only $30!

No, it's not an ad for a cheap local electronics shop -- these are actual prices for cybercrime services currently available from hackers in Russia. According to a new report on Russian cybercrime from researchers at Trend Micro Devices (PDF), the cost of buying such services has reached near rock-bottom.

"The Russian shadow economy is an economy of scale, one that is service oriented and that has become a kleptocracy wherein crony capitalism has obtained a new lease on life in cyberspace," the report states.

The report offers a look at a variety of services available for rent from Russian hackers, including descriptions of the service offerings and a breakdown of current pricing.

Pricing for the services is strikingly low, according to Trend Micro. A global mix of malware downloads, for example, costs as little as $12 per 1,000 downloads. U.S. downloads are slightly more expensive, priced at $100 to $150 per 1,000 downloads.

Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, which overwhelm a website with traffic, can be purchased for as little as $10 for a one-hour attack, Trend Micro says. A one-day attack costs $30 to $70.

Spam services are even less expensive, according to the report. An email flooding service can be purchased for as little as $3 for 1,000 emails; a spam message can be sent to 1 million users for $10. Customers can get the use of a 2,000-node botnet for $200, according to Trend Micro.

"Botnets are rather versatile resources as they can be used for spamming, launching DDoS attacks, and instigating mass downloads," the report says. "Botnet owners, aka 'botnet masters,' can also rummage through the logs bots send. These logs can contain all sorts of information valuable to fraudsters, like victims' social networking account passwords and credit card numbers."

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add a Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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