Botnets, botmasters and spyware victims. You must read this

Brian Kerebs of The Washington Post has published a very informative and breathtaking story on botnets, botmasters, adware companies and spyware victims. Brian spent months on this reporting interviewing hackers controlling thousands of infected computers around the globe, well-known adware distributors, security experts and spyware victims. All interviews are in the article. The story also explains why spyware distributors and adware companies are interested in hiring hackers and using botnets for pushing parasites.

It looks like that even a single botnet is a huge business that a lot of players are interested in. Just read this:

In the six hours between crashing into bed and rolling out of it, the 21-year-old hacker (known online as 0x80 – comment) has broken into nearly 2,000 personal computers around the globe. He slept while software he wrote scoured the Internet for vulnerable computers and infected them with viruses that turned them into slaves.

“Most days, I just sit at home and chat online while I make money,” 0x80 says. “I get one check like every 15 days in the mail for a few hundred bucks, and a buncha others I get from banks in Canada every 30 days.” He says his work earns him an average of $6,800 per month, although he’s made as much as $10,000. Not bad money for a high school dropout.

At the moment, 0x80 controls more than 13,000 computers in more than 20 countries. This morning he installs spyware on just a few hundred of the 2,000 PCs that he has commandeered in the last few hours.

0x80 and Majy don’t leave computer owners any chance to decline the adware. Once they invade a computer and add it to their botnet, they use automated keystroke codes to order the enslaved machine to click “OK” on installation agreements. 0x80 says he even created a program that allows him to remotely wipe computers in his botnet clean of old adware, making room for him to install new adware — and get paid again.

Read more at The Washington Post – Invasion of the Computer Snatchers

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