Hackers for hire: DDoS attacks offered for a price

The Internet has opened countless new doors for entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous folks are leveraging it for business ventures that make counterfeiting operations seem soft and cuddly. Hackers are selling shady wares, including Distributed Denial-of-Service-style attacks, to the highest bidder.

Hackers for hire: DDoS attacks offered for a price

Krebs on Security shed some light on the growing threat to both businesses and everyday web denizens. The cyber security blog pointed out that anyone with a website (commercial or private) could be a potential target for “digital hit men” – hackers who rent out their expertise to wreak havoc on behalf of paying customers.

As with any type of service, prices vary. Krebs estimated that rogue outfits will kill a site for the same rate as a minimum wage job ($5 to $10/hour), while the cost to keep a page offline for longer stretches of time could cost nearly $1,200/month for those willing to pay.

One specific group Krebs detailed that peddles in the dubious art of view-blocking is “Darkness” – a Russia-based group that advertises its malicious service with the panache of a legit business and claims its botnet can disrupt any site regardless of size or security.

The monetization of DDoS attacks is a far cry from more traditional usage. Hacker groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec have relied on overloading websites to render them inaccessible to viewers – the former often employing it as a type of virtual sit-in or to protest an injustice, while the latter using DDoS mostly to muck up the works for laughs. Indeed, LulzSec launched its own “phone DDoS” service which let people call in with their own hack requests – requests the upstart misfits were all too happy to oblige.

What do you think about this relatively new business venture? A fact of life in the new digital age, or one more reason to police the Internet? Share your thoughts in the comment section.