Spammers Make $7,000 a Day

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Spammers Make $7,000 a Day

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E-mail spammers make 7 grand a day. Why the hell are you working a day job when you could be filling peoples inboxes with penis enlargement ads?

After years of receiving and deleting spam mail, Computer Scientist Chris Kanich wondered if spamming email really pays off. So he and a team of curious scientists hijacked a spammer's botnet and found that yeah, spamming pays off - to the tune of $7000 per day.

Here's how a botnet works: You're browsing around the internet, and for whatever reason, you get infected with a virus. It doesn't do anything overt, not yet anyway, and lingers in your computer. Until one day, the creator of the botnet utilizes a "middleman" virus, a separate virus that hijacks computers to use their bandwidth to contact other infected computers, and tells all infected computers to do as he commands.

This happens on a grand scale; one of the largest botnets, the Mariposa botnet, has over 12.7 million infected computers at its disposal. Botnets can be used to hack passwords, overload websites, and in this case, send spam mail.

Kanich and his buddies at UC San Diego and the International Computer Science Institute went and found one of those middleman viruses, and intentionally infected 8 computers with it. Then they rewrote some of the code, allowing them to hijack the spammer's army of infected computers. Instead of sending out the usual "Stay Hard Longer!!1!" message, they directed recipients to go to what appeared to be an internet pharmacy. Upon clicking the "Buy Now" button, instead of actually charging for Viagra or logging credit card numbers like would usually happen, an error message would appear, and the click would be logged with the researchers.

Doing some fancy number work, Kanich's team created an equation for determining how much a spammer can make in a day, based on the numbers they got from their experiment. Of the 1.7 million emails sent, about a quarter actually got sent to a real address. Only a hundredth of a percent of that quarter actually got through the spam filter to get clicked on, and of that hundredth of a percent, only .2% of people were dumb enough to actually attempt to buy the product. Factoring all this together, the team got to their $7000 figure.

That's a mighty big number, there. Big enough that it gets me to thinking ... if you ever notice I'm gone from The Escapist, and suddenly you're getting more e-mails about free iPad giveaways, there's a good chance the two are related.

Source: Wired

Permalink

Scott Bullock:
Of the 1.7 emails sent...

1.7 seems a tad precise for an email.

Anyway, another reason for me to hate spammers.

Damn... That's a pretty sum right there... It had to pay off, nobody could be a spammer just because all these Internet Years...

Why the hell am I working?

SPAM BOT, HERE I COME!

Seriously though, I wonder how accurate that figure is...

and more importantly, how they would manage to aquire that money without sending out a RED FLAG screaming "ILLEGAL MONEY INVESTIGATE ME PLOX KTHXGOV"

1.7 emails sent? Was that meant to be million or billion or what? Heh...

Interesting - there's nothing illegal about that, right? I mean, otherwise surely the Internet Police would do something about it, right? lol...

Muhahahaha! I never check my mails!

And when I do, it's usually Yahoo telling me all my mails have been deleted bacause I haven't logged in for more than 3 months...

No money from me, spammers!

Scott Bullock:
notice I'm gone from The Escapist, and suddenly you're getting more e-mails about free iPad giveaways, there's a good chance the two are related.

You aren't supposed to tell us. Now how are you going to trick us into sending you our money?

This is why laws against spammers should be more strict. You spam, you lose a limb. You spam again, you lose your man-limb.

Why arent those scientists putting their knowledge to good use and using those hijacked spam emails to attack the source!

HUnh.

Now my question is, how long can you make that a lucritive career, and how do you report it to your local/state/federal tax retrieving body? And if this is Tax free, I you can pretty much be sure that 9in the US at least) the IRS would like to have a small discussion about where all this money you have is coming from.

EDIT: Also, I think I just found the most perfect example of "dont hate the player, hate the game" that I've ever seen

EDIT2: its been explained. I dont need it explained again, and it was more of a joke when I posted. thank you though for those that did explain it.

gigastar:

Scott Bullock:
Of the 1.7 emails sent...

1.7 seems a tad precise for an email.

Anyway, another reason for me to hate spammers.

Er... that would be 1.7 million. Sometimes the brain and the fingers... they don't communicate too well.

Wicky_42:
1.7 emails sent? Was that meant to be million or billion or what? Heh...

Interesting - there's nothing illegal about that, right? I mean, otherwise surely the Internet Police would do something about it, right? lol...

gigastar:

Scott Bullock:
Of the 1.7 emails sent...

1.7 seems a tad precise for an email.

Anyway, another reason for me to hate spammers.

Did the math. For every 1.7 Billion Emails sent, 85 people try to buy the product

1,700,000,000 X 0.25 = 425,000,000
425,000,000 X 0.0001 = 42,500
42,500 X 0.002 = 85

TAKE THESE PILLS TO GROW YOUR FREE 100,000TH PENIS INTO AN IPAD NO CREDIT REQUIRED!!

How much do you reckon I'll get for that?

Echo136:
Why arent those scientists putting their knowledge to good use and using those hijacked spam emails to attack the source!

A moment's thought can provide a plausible answer. Consider the following:

1) These scientists seemed to have little difficulty getting this information.

2) There are people whose job it is to find and arrest spammers, among other cybercriminals.

3) Despite 1 and 2, spamming is profitable and low-risk enough that people still do it.

This suggests that tracking spammers with that info is not as easy as you think it is.

...
So anyone in for some generic cialis?

Maek uR P3nI$$ largher in 0nly 3 dAy$!

Hurray spam! I hate spammers so much, on youtube they're even worse, they just go to people channels and post crap for "Free MS or Wii points" in the most obnoxiously huge jumbled block of text.

emeraldrafael:
HUnh.

Now my question is, how long can you make that a lucritive career, and how do you report it to your local/state/federal tax retrieving body? And if this is Tax free, I you can pretty much be sure that 9in the US at least) the IRS would like to have a small discussion about where all this money you have is coming from.

EDIT: Also, I think I just found the most perfect example of "dont hate the player, hate the game" that I've ever seen

Usually ou register yourself / your group as a company.
Online marketing is a perfectly legal (this includes spam, unless it's coupled with offences like phishing or computer hijacking) and, if you know what you're doing, also very lucrative field of business.

Did the math. For every 1.7 Billion Emails sent, 85 people try to buy the product

1,700,000,000 X 0.25 = 425,000,000
425,000,000 X 0.0001 = 42,500
42,500 X 0.002 = 85

Nah man,
1,700,000 X .25 = 425,000
425,000 X .01 = 4250
4250 X .02 = 85
So in a really weird, roundabout way, you were right.

So... uh... WHAT THE FUCK.

Ok first off, people need better antivirus obviously. Secondly, people are idiots >D

Oh, and for the love of everything, I FUCKING HATE getting the stupid fake as shit emails about my blizzard/wow/stacraft/battlenet accounts being hacked/changed/sold/whatever the fuck. It seriously pisses me off so much!!

*Check email* Fuck off I have another one.

Dear customer,

Due to suspicious activity, your Battle.net account has been locked. You tried to login your account too many times (403). We are concerned about whether your account has been stolen. In order to guarantee the legitimacy of your account, we need you follow these steps:

Step 1: Secure Your Computer

In the event that your computer has been infected with malicious software such as a keylogger or trojan, simply changing your password may not deter future attacks without first ensuring that your computer is free from these programs. Please visit our Account Security website to learn how to secure your computer from unauthorized access.

Step 2: Secure Your E-mail Account

After you have secured your computer, check your e-mail filters and rules and look for any e-mail forwarding rules that you did not create. For more information on securing your e-mail account, visit our Support page.

Step 3: Restore access to Your account

We now provide a secure link for you to verify whether you have taken the appropriate steps to secure the account, your computer, and your email address. Please follow this site to restore the access to your account: http://us.battle.net/loginsupport.htm

If you still have questions or concerns after following the steps above, feel free to contact Customer Support at http://us.blizzard.com/support/article.xml?locale=en_US&articleId=20606.

Sincerely,
The Battle.net Account Team
Online Privacy Policy

Of course all those links look legit but they point to completely different sites. I wish this could/would stop. (I know, these links will go to the right sites, but with the HTML code in the email they go to "us.battle.info-review-management.net/loginsupport.htm" which is CLEARLY a fake as shit site)

With that math out of the rough figures and percentages (if I'm not completely wrong here), there were about a dozen or so people who clicked on the link.

How can that equal in $7000 profit? Where does the money come from?

But anywho, I already knew it was a huuuge business. I read an article recently about the man who has apparently the one behind a huge majority of the spam there ever has been, and he's a frickin' billionaire.

emeraldrafael:
HUnh.

Now my question is, how long can you make that a lucritive career, and how do you report it to your local/state/federal tax retrieving body? And if this is Tax free, I you can pretty much be sure that 9in the US at least) the IRS would like to have a small discussion about where all this money you have is coming from.

EDIT: Also, I think I just found the most perfect example of "dont hate the player, hate the game" that I've ever seen

Cite it as advertising/marketing campaigns for the companies you are spamming info on, and that wouldn't be lying either.

fooddood3:

Did the math. For every 1.7 Billion Emails sent, 85 people try to buy the product

1,700,000,000 X 0.25 = 425,000,000
425,000,000 X 0.0001 = 42,500
42,500 X 0.002 = 85

Nah man,
1,700,000 X .25 = 425,000
425,000 X .01 = 4250
4250 X .02 = 85
So in a really weird, roundabout way, you were right.

Percentage fail. 0.01% (one hundredth of a percent) is .0001, and 0.2% is 0.002. The guy you quoted had it right.

hmmm.. Well that is certainly a large amount of money to make on a daily basis..

Makes you wonder if its acually so, why more people ain't doing it..

Celtic_Kerr:
Did the math. For every 1.7 Billion Emails sent, 85 people try to buy the product

1,700,000,000 X 0.25 = 425,000,000
425,000,000 X 0.0001 = 42,500
42,500 X 0.002 = 85

Scott Bullock:

gigastar:

Scott Bullock:
Of the 1.7 emails sent...

1.7 seems a tad precise for an email.

Anyway, another reason for me to hate spammers.

Er... that would be 1.7 million. Sometimes the brain and the fingers... they don't communicate too well.

lol, turns out only 0.085 people answered the emails... wait, what? o.0

ew im worried that those botnet thigns get away with it. Why do i pay for my anti-virus X_X

... so where do you sign up for this?

Don't be mad at the spammers, be mad at the impotents who "buy" it.

THEJORRRG:
TAKE THESE PILLS TO GROW YOUR FREE 100,000TH PENIS INTO AN IPAD NO CREDIT REQUIRED!!

How much do you reckon I'll get for that?

I'll take 2!

But on topic. I think my plan to becoming a millionaire is one step closer. :D

Wicky_42:

Celtic_Kerr:
Did the math. For every 1.7 Billion Emails sent, 85 people try to buy the product

1,700,000,000 X 0.25 = 425,000,000
425,000,000 X 0.0001 = 42,500
42,500 X 0.002 = 85

Scott Bullock:

gigastar:

1.7 seems a tad precise for an email.

Anyway, another reason for me to hate spammers.

Er... that would be 1.7 million. Sometimes the brain and the fingers... they don't communicate too well.

lol, turns out only 0.085 people answered the emails... wait, what? o.0

I calculated in billions because I noticed the decimal. I don't like decimals when talking about things that can't be divided. The e-mail might have only worked on a multipl of 1.7 million... like 3.4 million or 5.1 million. I did it in a round 1.7 billion and made it a whole number

So they get about 7000 per wave of spam they send out. They may not do that everyday, lest they get blocked and other things.

More reason to hate the spamfags. They're ruining other jobs with their filthy leeching of our economy.

Well how about that...

The numbers you've got there seem a bit wrong.

What I want to know is how could it possibly be that 0.0127% of people are stupid enough to look at a mail promising "4rg3r p3nsi bigxxxbigxxxbigxxx" and think "Huh, this looks legit. I do have a very small penis. I guess I should try this 'l4rgar 3 u' thing."

Whoever these idiots are, they must be purged. It's because of them that everyone else gets a billion of these things a day.

Celtic_Kerr:

I calculated in billions because I noticed the decimal. I don't like decimals when talking about things that can't be divided. The e-mail might have only worked on a multipl of 1.7 million... like 3.4 million or 5.1 million. I did it in a round 1.7 billion and made it a whole number

Celtic_Kerr:
Did the math. For every 1.7 Billion Emails sent, 85 people try to buy the product

1,700,000,000 X 0.25 = 425,000,000
425,000,000 X 0.0001 = 42,500
42,500 X 0.002 = 85

Scott Bullock:
Of the 1.7 emails sent...

Scott Bullock:

Er... that would be 1.7 million. Sometimes the brain and the fingers... they don't communicate too well.

Wicky_42:

lol, turns out only 0.085 people answered the emails... wait, what? o.0

Follow the source. It's 1.7 million emails per middleman. 550 middlemen. And some more stuff.

How do they get the money though? Anyone know?????

Call me crazy, but I want more than seven grand for my soul.

Although I have to wonder... If you could re-route a virus like this for purposes of research, how hard would it be to re-route it to a "The following idiots are perpetrating the spam market in the vain hope of enlarging their manifestly inadequate anatomy" listing...

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