Researchers Hijack Storm Worm to Track Profits

A single response from 12 million e-mails is all it takes for spammers to turn annual profits of millions of dollars promoting knockoff pharmaceuticals, according to an unprecedented new study on the economics of spam.Over a period of about a month in the Spring of 2008, researchers at the University of California, San Diego and UC Berkeley sought to measure the conversion rate of spam by quietly infiltrating the Storm worm botnet, a vast collection of compromised computers once responsible for sending an estimated 20 percent of all spam.The teams at Berkley and UCSD conducted the experiment by impersonating a key component of the Storm worm network used to hand off instructions from the worm’s master control servers to the “worker bots” — the tens of thousands of infected end-user systems that do all the spamming. shows how spammers cash in
Spammers are turning a profit despite only getting one response for every 12.5m e-mails they send, finds a study.By hijacking a working spam network, US researchers have uncovered some of the economics of being a junk mailer.The analysis suggests that such a tiny response rate means a big spam operation can turn over millions of pounds in profit every year. Campaigns Work, But Don’t Generate Big Profits
It’s a question all computer users ask from time to time, as we delete yet another advertisement that has squeaked past our spam filters:Does anybody really buy this stuff?A group of California university researchers last week published a research paper that attempts to answer this very question. In a detailed study on spam conversion rates, the researchers tested the ability of the well-known Storm botnet to deliver advertisements and “convert” the recipients into paying customers. Viagra Spam Is Profitable, but Margins Are Tight [IDG]
One of the most notorious networks of hacked computers used for sending spam could be generating as much as US$3.5 million per year peddling drugs such as Viagra, according to new research. hack spam network for study
Researchers from University of California, Berkeley and UC, San Diego (UCSD) have published a report detailing how they hacked a spamming network to collect data on the economics of the problem.

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