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Buying your own botnet costs as little as $250

Published Dec 19th, 2012 11:40AM EST
Botnet Black Market

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Botnets used to be the exclusive domain of high-powered hackers looking to rake in cash from spam operations or to conduct highly effective DDoS attacks. But now Symantec has found that botnets are increasingly becoming available to less sophisticated hacker wannabes and are being sold for as little as $250.

After trolling around on some of the darker corners of the Internet, Symantec researchers stumbled upon a seller marketing a “Zeus Fully Setup Botnet + Bulletproof Hosting” for $250 that includes source code, binaries, user guides and a control panel. Symantec also found other purported botnets on sale for as much as $1,000, although the firm believes that at least some of these advertised botnets are scams.

Even so, the company says the rise of for-sale botnets is significant because “previously, it was necessary to be a member of an exclusive community to purchase these files, but it appears that it is now getting easier.”

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.