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How Economics and Information Security Affects Cyber Crime and What It Means in the Context of a ... - page 3 / 7

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  • Fake security software

  • Credit card fraud

  • DDoS Extortion

  • Click fraud

  • Cyber squatting

  • Blackhat SEO

  • Pump‐and‐dump stock schemes

Of these, botnet creation has grown exponentially over the last 4 years. Botnets are created to be rented out for their combined computing power to send SPAM, host phishing sites, or sell fake anti‐virus software. Some estimate that botnets now compose almost 27% of malicious activity on the Internet (Rajab, 2006). To calculate how much bot herders make creating and maintaining their bots, let’s look at the economics of a SPAM campaign in the following table (Zink, 2008):

Spam Sent

40 million

Click‐through ratio

0.12%

Total click‐throughs

48,000

Click‐through‐‐sales ratio

1/200

Total sales

240

Total sales revenue

$37,440.00

Spammer commission rate

50%

Total SPAMmer income

$18,720.00

Weekly Costs

Bulletproof hosting

$230.00

4 days of botnet access

$6,800.00

Email addresses

$4,000.00

Total Costs

$11,030

Net Weekly Profit

$7,690.00

Using these figures, is estimated that the yearly profit for one SPAMmer is around $340,000. This is a huge amount of money for a minimal amount of work. So a little extrapolation – if a SPAMmer does this on a weekly basis, he is using a botnet weekly. So we can calculate that $6800/4 = $1700 per day * 365 = $620,500 possible yearly net for a botnet herder. This is just for the rental of one botnet, which can be maintained by a small group of cyber criminals. This amount of return on a little investment of capital and with few repercussions makes this an extremely attractive option for cyber criminals.

In addition, Malware‐As‐A‐Service and other market efficiencies are starting to crop up in the criminal underground, pointing to a sophisticated business model in which people are specializing in a way that is seen in mature markets (Danchev, 2008).

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