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5/28/2010
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Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
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Botnet Black Market Means Malice For Rent

For less than seventy bucks you can hire a botnet for a day, and for under ten you can grab one for an hour. Welcome to the world of commodity cybercrime.

For less than seventy bucks you can hire a botnet for a day, and for under ten you can grab one for an hour. Welcome to the world of commodity cybercrime.Findings from VeriSign's iDefense research group give a scary glimpse into just how commodified botnets and the attacks they can launch have become.

According to iDefense, botnets capable of launching denial of service attacks -- or running spam campaigns, rogue anti-virus scams or any of the other attacks and activities botnets are so effective at, can be hired for a few a dollars an hour.

$67, researchers found, will get you a botnet for 24 hours; $9 can get you one for an hour.

Want more time? A few thousand will get you a Zeus toolkit from which you can set up financial and transaction scams; variably priced add-ons let you do with the botnet and Zeus... pretty much whatever you want.

What all of this means, of course, is what we've known for awhile: the province of cybercrime is increasingly financial, not technical. That is, the techno-wizards putting the crooked code together aren't as much interested in using it themselves as they are in selling or renting their work (some of which, astonishingly, includes anti-piracy protection!).

The buy-in during the early days of hacking was technical knowledge and code-cutting (and cracking)sophistication. Now the buy-in is just that: money.

Which means that we'll be seeing more and more players, I believe, in the botnet arena and, likely, more and more target attacks as those players hire or buy the tools needed to take on a particular industry or business.

Don't Miss: SMBs Often Hit Hardest By Botnets

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