Dancho Danchev's Blog - Mind Streams of Information Security Knowledge

Pricing Scheme for a DDoS Extortion Attack

Published by Dancho Danchev under on November 03, 2009

With the average price for a DDoS attack on demand decreasing due to the evident over-supply of malware infected hosts, it should be fairly logical to assume that the "on demand DDoS" business model run by the cybercriminals performing such services is blossoming.

Interestingly, what used to be a group that was exclusively specializing in DDoS attacks, is today's cybercrime enterprise "vertically integrating" in order to occupy as many underground market segments as possible, all of which originally developed thanks to the "malicious economies of scale" (massive SQL injections through search engines' reconnaissance, standardizing the social engineering process, the money mule recruitment process, diversifying the standardized and well proven propagation/infection vectors etc.) offered by a botnet.

What if their DDoS for hire business model is experiencing a decline? Would penetration pricing save them? What if they start enforcing a differentiated pricing model for their services through DDoS extortion?

Let's discuss one of those groups that's been actively attempting to extort money from Russian web sites since the middle of this summer. From penalty fees, to 30% discount if they want to request DDoS for hire against their competitors, a discount only available if they've actually paid the 10,000 rubles monthly extortion fee at the first place - this gang is also including links to the web sites of Russian's Federal Security Service (FSB) and Russia's Ministry of the Interior stating "in order to make it easy for the victims to contact law enforcement".

Sample DDOS extortion letter:
"Hello. If you want to continue having your site operational, you must pay us 10 000 rubles monthly. Attention! Starting as of DATE your site will be a subject to a DDoS attack. Your site will remain unavailable until you pay us.

The first attack will involve 2,000 bots. If you contact the companies involved in the protection of DDoS-attacks and they begin to block our bots, we will increase the number of bots to 50 000, and the protection of 50 000 bots is very, very expensive.

1-st payment (10 000 rubles) Must be made no later than DATE. All subsequent payments (10 000 rubles) Must be committed no later than 31 (30) day of each month starting from August 31. Late payment penalties will be charged 100% for each day of delay.

For example, if you do not have time to make payment on the last day of the month, then 1 day of you will have to pay a fine 100%, for instance 20 000 rubles. If you pay only the 2 nd date of the month, it will be for 30 000 rubles etc. Please pay on time, and then the initial 10 000 rubles offer will not change. Penalty fees apply to your first payment - no later than DATE"

You will also receive several bonuses.
1. 30% discount if you request DDoS attack on your competitors/enemies. Fair market value ddos attacks a simple site is about $ 100 per night, for you it will cost only 70 $ per day.
2. If we turn to your competitors / enemies, to make an attack on your site, then we deny them.

Payment must be done on our purse Yandex-money number 41001474323733. Every month the number will be a new purse, be careful. About how to use Yandex-money read on www.money.yandex.ru. If you want to apply to law enforcement agencies, we will not discourage you. We even give you their contacts: www.fsb.ru, www.mvd.ru

It's also worth pointing out that a huge number of "boutique vendors" of DDoS services remain reluctant to initiate DDoS attacks against government or political parties, in an attempt to stay beneath the radar. This mentality prompted the inevitable development of "aggregate-and-forget" type of botnets exclusively aggregated for customer-tailored propositions who would inevitably get detected, shut down, but end up harder to trace back to the original source compared to a situation where they would be DDoS the requested high-profile target from the very same botnet that is closely monitored by the security community.

The future of DDoS extortion attacks, however, looks a bit grey due the numerous monetization models that cybercriminals developed - for instance ransomware, which attempts to scale by extorting significant amounts of money from thousands of infected users in an automated and much more efficient way than the now old-fashioned DDoS extortion model.

Related posts:
Botnet Communication Platforms
Custom DDoS Capabilities Within a Malware
A New DDoS Malware Kit in the Wild
Botnet on Demand Service
The DDoS Attack Against CNN.com
A Botnet Master's To-Do List
Custom DDoS Attacks Within Popular Malware Diversifying
Using Market Forces to Disrupt Botnets
Web Based Botnet Command and Control Kit 2.0
DDoS Attack Graphs from Russia vs Georgia's Cyberattacks
The DDoS Attack Against Bobbear.co.uk
Russian Homosexual Sites Under (Commissioned) DDoS Attack

This post has been reproduced from Dancho Danchev's blog.


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