Spam is big business

Every day about 100 billion spam emails are sent. Of course, like most people you delete spam messages immediately, or you let your Internet provider delete them for you.

But if only 0.001% of the sent spam lead to spending money (let's assume 10 dollar), every day 10 million dollar is earned in this business. This is about 3 billion dollar every year! And this seems like a conservative estimate.

80% of all spam is being sent by some 200 spammers. Most of this spam is about selling medicine (drugs). In the USA and in most other countries most medication is only available with a doctor's prescription. In Canada, the rules are a bit less strict. Therefore spammers try their victims to persuade to order medicine from Canada (some medicines are apparently more popular than others for some reason...). The part they don't tell you is that you can order and pay for these medicines, but they get never delivered. This way spammers make money without making costs on products to ship. Of course one needs a good IT infrastructure to send the spam, but these IT infrastructures are just outsourced by the spammers.

Spammers use large botnets for sending al these billions of spam email, because of two reasons:

  1. Much bandwidth and CPU power is needed to send all the spam.
  2. Spammers don't like to be put out of business easily.

So, spammers need botnets. Because of this, criminal organizations exist that setup botnets using viruses. These organizations sell botnet services to spammers. Also they sell (stolen) email address lists to which the spam can be sent.

Every day about 1.2 million bots are created (i.e. new infected PC's that are setup to join a botnet). Bots that are used for some time are often not useable anymore, usually because the virus scanner of the particular PC switched off the bot software. On average, three days after the virus infection only half of the 1.2 million PC's are still useable. This means that new virus exploits are needed frequently to infect new PC's. The spammer does not need to create such exploits: it is the core business for yet other criminal organizations! These organizations hire crackers to find exploits. A new exploit costs about 100,000 dollar for the spammer. No problem, given the enormous year turnover the spammers make.

I think this a school example of organized crime, don't you? 

This entry was posted on Saturday 25 October 2008

Earlier articles

The cloud is as insecure as its configuration

Infrastructure as code

My Book

DevOps for infrastructure

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

(Hyper) Converged Infrastructure

Object storage

Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV)

Software Defined Storage (SDS)

What's the point of using Docker containers?

Identity and Access Management

Using user profiles to determine infrastructure load

Public wireless networks

Supercomputer architecture

Desktop virtualization

Stakeholder management

x86 platform architecture

Midrange systems architecture

Mainframe Architecture

Software Defined Data Center - SDDC

The Virtualization Model

What are concurrent users?

Performance and availability monitoring in levels

UX/UI has no business rules

Technical debt: a time related issue

Solution shaping workshops

Architecture life cycle

Project managers and architects

Using ArchiMate for describing infrastructures

Kruchten’s 4+1 views for solution architecture

The SEI stack of solution architecture frameworks

TOGAF and infrastructure architecture

The Zachman framework

An introduction to architecture frameworks

How to handle a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack

Architecture Principles

Views and viewpoints explained

Stakeholders and their concerns

Skills of a solution architect architect

Solution architects versus enterprise architects

Definition of IT Architecture

What is Big Data?

How to make your IT "Greener"

What is Cloud computing and IaaS?

Purchasing of IT infrastructure technologies and services

IDS/IPS systems

IP Protocol (IPv4) classes and subnets

Infrastructure Architecture - Course materials

Introduction to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

IT Infrastructure Architecture model

Fire prevention in the datacenter

Where to build your datacenter

Availability - Fall-back, hot site, warm site

Reliabilty of infrastructure components

Human factors in availability of systems

Business Continuity Management (BCM) and Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP)

Performance - Design for use

Performance concepts - Load balancing

Performance concepts - Scaling

Performance concept - Caching

Perceived performance

Ethical hacking

The first computers

Open group ITAC /Open CA Certification

Sjaak Laan

Recommended links

Ruth Malan
Gaudi site
Esther Barthel's site on virtualization
Eltjo Poort's site on architecture


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